Youth Violence: Prevention Strategies
Youth violence is a serious problem that can have lasting harmful effects on victims and their family, friends, and communities. The goal for youth violence prevention is simple—to stop youth violence from happening in the first place. But the solutions are as complex as the problem.
Prevention efforts should aim to reduce factors that place youth at risk for perpetrating violence, and promote factors that protect youth at risk for violence. In addition, prevention should address all types of influences on youth violence: individual, relationship, community, and society. Effective prevention strategies are necessary to promote awareness about youth violence and to foster the commitment to social change.
Youth violence prevention—one of the oldest fields in violence—continues to advance rapidly. Many prevention tools have been developed and implemented; many of these prevention programs and strategies have been evaluated, and found to be effective at preventing violence and related behaviors among youth. Such evidence-based programs have shown positive effects in rigorous evaluations.
Effective and Promising Programs
- Striving To Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere (STRYVE) Strategies Selector Tool
STRYVE is a national initiative led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent youth violence. The STRYVE Strategies Selector Tool pulls together information from multiple sources to help communities connect with evidence-based youth violence prevention approaches. The strategies included have been rigorously evaluated and shown to impact factors for youth violence and/or lower the occurrence of youth violence.
- The Community Guide for Violence Prevention
Developed by the Task Force for Community Preventive Services, a nonfederal group of experts in public health and prevention, the Community Guide includes recommendations for preventing youth violence based on systematic reviews of evidence-based strategies.
- The National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP)
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) supports NREPP to help connect the public to information about evidence-based approaches that promote mental health, prevent substance abuse, and treat mental health and substance abuse. The registry includes interventions with violence outcomes.
- Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development
Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development is an online resource for communities to learn more about model or promising strategies that reduce youth violence or key risk factors for violence, and promote healthy youth behavior and relationships.
The U.S. Department of Justice developed this resource to provide practitioners and policy makers with information about effective strategies in criminal justice, juvenile justice, and victim services. Some of the identified programs are prevention strategies that are consistent with the public health approach to youth violence prevention.
Prevention Guidance and Planning Tools
- STRYVE Online
STRYVE is a national initiative led by CDC to prevent youth violence. Components of STRYVE, such as STRYVE Online, assist communities with developing and implementing comprehensive plans to prevent youth violence. Communities are connected to tools that help them convene partners, use data to design local prevention approaches, select evidence-based strategies, and conduct evaluations to help ensure community youth violence prevention goals are being achieved. STRYVE helps communities take a public health approach to preventing youth violence—stopping it before it even starts.
- Health Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT)
The HECAT contains guidance, appraisal tools, and resources to help schools conduct an analysis of health education curricula based on the National Health Education Standards and CDC’s Characteristics of an Effective Health Education Curriculum. The results can help schools select or develop curricula to address a number of topics, including violence prevention.
- School Health Index (SHI)
SHI is a self-assessment and planning tool that enables a school to identify the strengths and weaknesses of its health and safety policies and programs; develop an action plan for improving student health and safety; and involve teachers, parents, students, and the community in improving school services.
- CDC’s National Centers of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention
The National Centers of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention [formerly called Academic Centers for Excellence (ACEs) on Youth Violence Prevention] use a unique multidisciplinary approach to violence prevention. The centers research youth violence prevention approaches, collect and analyze surveillance data, and foster relationships with local community partners to help develop, implement, and evaluate promising prevention efforts. This collaboration between research universities and local communities and community-based organizations results in empowered communities that are mobilized to address the problem of youth violence.
- Achieving Public Health Impact in Youth Violence Prevention through Community-Research Partnerships.
This article discusses the characteristics of communities that influence the development and epidemiology of youth violence and discusses opportunities for partnerships that can enhance efforts to prevent community violence. The article is available in Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action.