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Youth Violence: Definitions

Youth violence is a significant public health problem that affects thousands of young people each day, and in turn, their families, schools, and communities. Youth violence occurs when young people between the ages of 10 and 24 years intentionally use physical force or power to threaten or harm others.1,2 Youth violence typically involves young people hurting other peers who are unrelated to them and who they may or may not know well. Youth violence can take different forms. Examples include fights, bullying, threats with weapons, and gang-related violence. A young person can be involved with youth violence as a victim, offender, or witness. Different forms of youth violence can also vary in the harm that results and can include physical harm, such as injuries or death, as well as psychological harm, increased medical and justice costs, decreased property values, and disruption of community services.3

Why is a Consistent Definition Important?

A consistent definition is needed to monitor the incidence of youth violence and examine trends over time. In addition, a clear and consistent definition helps determine the magnitude of youth violence and allows comparison of youth violence across jurisdictions. Consistency allows researchers to uniformly measure risk and protective factors for victimization and perpetration. Ultimately, these measurements inform prevention and intervention efforts.

References

  1. David-Ferdon, C., & Simon, T. R. (2014). Preventing youth violence: Opportunities for action. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/opportunities-for-action.html.
  2. Dahlberg, L. L., & Krug, E. G. (2002). Violence: A global public health problem. In E. G. Krug, L. L. Dahlberg, J. A. Mercy, A. B. Zwi, & R. Lozano (Eds.), World report on violence and health (pp. 1-56). Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.
  3. Mercy, J., Butchart, A., Farrington, D., & Cerdá, M. (2002). Youth violence. In E. G. Krug, L. L. Dahlberg, J. A. Mercy, A. B. Zwi, & R. Lozano (Eds.), World report on violence and health (pp. 25-56). Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.
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