Preventing Youth Violence

Key points

  • Youth violence is a serious problem that can have lasting harmful effects on victims and their family, friends, and communities.
  • CDC’s goal is to stop youth violence from happening in the first place.


In order to prevent youth violence, we must understand and address risk and protective factors at the individual, relational, community, and societal levels.

CDC developed the Youth Violence Prevention Resource for Action, to help communities take advantage of the best available evidence to prevent youth violence. This resource is available in English and Spanish and can impact individual behaviors and the relationship, family, school, community, and societal factors that influence the risk and protective factors for violence.


Prevention strategies and their corresponding approaches are listed in the table below.

Strategy Approach
Promote family environments that support healthy development.
  • Early childhood home visitation.
  • Parenting skill and family relationship programs.
Provide quality education early in life. Preschool enrichment with family engagement.
Strengthen youth’s skills. Universal school-based programs.
Connect youth to caring adults and activities.
  • Mentoring programs.
  • After-school programs.
Create protective community environments.
  • Modify the physical and social environment.
  • Reduce exposure to community-level risks.
  • Street outreach and community norm change.
Intervene to lessen harms and prevent future risk.
  • Treatment to lessen the harms of violence exposures.
  • Treatment to prevent problem behavior and further involvement in violence.
  • Hospital-community partnerships.

Everyone can help support teens and prevent violence

Parents and families can:

  • Learn about links between teens' experiences with violence and their health.
  • Talk with teens about violence and ask how you can support them.
  • Reach out to local programs to learn effective parenting practices.

Communities can:

  • Make teen mentoring, apprenticeship, and leadership programs more available.
  • Collaborate with health departments and other partners to promote healthy and safe neighborhoods.
  • Make use of effective social and economic policies that reduce violence.

Schools can:

  • Adopt policies and practices that create safe and supportive environments.
  • Teach teens skills to navigate social and emotional challenges.
  • Connect students to health and mental health services.
  • Build strong bonds between staff and students to improve connectedness to school.

Directly engaging teens in preventing violence helps them:

  • Make healthy choices.
  • Be a leader and voice for change for healthier communities and schools.
  • Advise community and school decision-makers.
  • Promote respect and empathy with family, friends, and peers.