YOUTH VIOLENCE PREVENTION
Fewer than 1% of all homicides among school-age children occur on or around school grounds or on the way to and from school.
- Nearly two-thirds of school-associated violent deaths were students; about one-tenth were teachers or other staff; and nearly one-quarter were community members killed on school property.
- Eight out of 10 school homicide or suicide victims were males.
- 28% of the school-related deaths occurred inside the school building; 36% occurred outdoors on school property; and 35% occurred off campus.
Among students surveyed in a 1999 CDC study:
- 14% of high school students had been in a physical fight on school property at least once in the preceding year.
- 8% had been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property during the preceding 12 months.
- 7% carried a weapon on school property during the preceding 30 days.
- 5% had missed one or more days of school during the preceding 30 days because they felt too unsafe to go to school.
Youth violence is an important public health problem that results in deaths and injuries. The following statistics provide an overview of youth violence in the United States.
- In 2003, 5,570 young people ages 10 to 24 were murdered-an average of 15 each day. Of these victims, 82% were killed with firearms.
- Although high-profile school shootings have increased public concern for student safety, school-associated violent deaths account for less than 1% of homicides among school-aged children and youth.
- In 2004, more than 750,000 young people ages 10 to 24 were treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained due to violence.
- In a nationwide survey of high school students:
- 33% reported being in a physical fight one or more times in the 12 months preceding the survey.
- 17% reported carrying a weapon (e.g., gun, knife, or club) on one or more of the 30 days preceding the survey.
- An estimated 30% of 6th to 10th graders in the United States were involved in bullying as a bully, a target of bullying, or both.
- Direct and indirect costs of youth violence (e.g., medical, lost productivity, quality of life) exceed $158 billion every year.
- In a nationwide survey of high school students, about 6% reported not going to school on one or more days in the 30 days preceding the survey because they felt unsafe at school or on their way to and from school.
- In addition to causing injury and death, youth violence affects communities by increasing the cost of health care, reducing productivity, decreasing property values, and disrupting social services.
Groups at Risk
- Among 10 to 24 year olds, homicide is the leading cause of death for African Americans, the second leading cause of death for Hispanics, and the third leading cause of death for American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Asian/Pacific Islanders.
- Of the 5,570 homicides reported in 2003 among 10 to 24 year olds, 86% were males and 14% were females.
- Male students are more likely to be involved in a physical fight than female students (41% vs. 25%).
Research on youth violence has increased our understanding of factors that make some populations more vulnerable to victimization and perpetration. Many risk factors are the same, in part, because of the overlap among victims and perpetrators of violence.
Risk factors increase the likelihood that a young person will become violent. However, risk factors are not direct causes of youth violence; instead, risk factors contribute to youth violence.
Research associates the following risk factors with perpetration of youth violence:
Individual Risk Factors
- History of violent victimization or involvement
- Attention deficits, hyperactivity, or learning disorders
- History of early aggressive behavior
- Involvement with drugs, alcohol, or tobacco
- Low IQ
- Poor behavioral control
- Deficits in social cognitive or information-processing abilities
- High emotional distress
- History of treatment for emotional problems
- Antisocial beliefs and attitudes
- Exposure to violence and conflict in the family
Family Risk Factors
- Authoritarian childrearing attitudes
- Harsh, lax, or inconsistent disciplinary practices
- Low parental involvement
- Low emotional attachment to parents or caregivers
- Low parental education and income
- Parental substance abuse or criminality
- Poor family functioning
- Poor monitoring and supervision of children
Peer/School Risk Factors
- Association with delinquent peers
- Involvement in gangs
- Social rejection by peers
- Lack of involvement in conventional activities
- Poor academic performance
- Low commitment to school and school failure
Community Risk Factors
- Diminished economic opportunities
- High concentrations of poor residents
- High level of transiency
- High level of family disruption
- Low levels of community participation
- Socially disorganized neighborhoods
Sources: The safety tips in this section were compiled from the following great internet resources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov/)