RCASA’s Saturday Prevention: Youth Violence Prevention Week

In Outreach on March 27, 2010 at 8:00 am

The National Association of Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) is a founding partner of National Youth Violence Prevention Week. During this weeklong national education initiative, the goal is to raise awareness and to educate the community on effective ways to prevent or reduce youth violence. Agencies can raise awareness about youth violence and victimization by celebrating National Youth Violence Prevention Week. This week-long campaign offers a tremendous opportunity to shine the spotlight on programming and activities that promote respect, tolerance, conflict resolution and community action to prevent or reduce youth violence.

Over the last several years, youth violence has become a growing public health concern for communities across the nation. Each year, almost one million young people ages 10 to 24 require medical treatment for injuries caused by violence .With the prevalence of violent images in the media and popularity of violent video games, youth are being exposed to violence at much younger ages than in the past, sometimes from within their own homes or communities.

Consider these statistics:

  • Teens experience the highest rate of violent crime. They are 2.5 times more likely to be the victim of violence than adults.
    Source: Snyder, Howard N., and Sickmund, Melissa. Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2006 National Report. (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2006).
  • Thirty percent of sixth to 10th graders in the United States either have bullied another youth, been the target of bullying or both.
    Source: Nansel TR, et. Al. “Bullying Behaviors Among US Youth: Prevalence and Association with Psychosocial Adjustment.” Journal of the American Medical Association, 2001; 285(16): 2094(100).
  • One in 11 young people reports being a victim of physical dating abuse.
    Source: Centers for Disease Control, Physical Dating Violence Among High School Students (United States, 2003).
  • Youth are at the highest risk of being a victim of crime or committing a crime between the after-school hours of 3-8 p.m.
    Source: Snyder, Howard N., and Sickmund, Melissa. Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2006 National Report. (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2006).
  • Studies show that one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before the age of 18. Additionally, one in five children who go online is sexually exploited.
    Source: “Confronting child sexual abuse with courage.” Darkness to Light, www.darkness2light.org, About Child Abuse section, accessed on March 12, 2008.

 The good news is that homicides and suicides in youth are going down. The bad news is that violence remains the greatest threat to the lives of our youth, especially to racial and ethnic minorities.

  • The homicide rate for black male teens (55 per 100,000) is 16 x higher than that of white male teens (3.3 per 100,00)
  • For Latino male teens: 24 per 100,000, 15 per 100,000 for Native Americans, 7 per 100,000 for Asian male teens
  • The homicide rate for black teen girls is 8 per 100, 000, 5 per 100, 000 for Native Americans, 3 per 100, 000 for Latina teen girls, 2 per 100,000 for white female teens, 1 per 100, 000 for Asian teen girls.

But the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Youth who are victimized are at higher risk to become victimizers, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away from home, turn to teen prostitution, suffer from depression and eating disorders and attempt suicide. Exposure to violence makes it more difficult for a young person to develop a positive, stable self-concept, self-esteem and body image.

Causes of Youth Violence

According to the American Psychological Association’s Practice Directorate, there is no single cause for youth violence, but contributing factors include:

  • Peer pressure
  • Need for attention or respect
  • Feelings of low self-worth
  • Early childhood abuse or neglect
  • Witnessing violence in the home, community or in the media
  • Easy access to weapons

Where to Start

Through programming, special events or community partnerships, community agencies can raise awareness, educate and help youth develop the skills to combat the effects that exposure to violence can have in their lives and in their communities.

Whether you implement a new program, add topics addressing violence into the programs you already have or develop relationships with community partners who can provide support, – we can make a difference!

  1. Tonight on Basic Black: youth violence in Boston. The last few weeks have been witness to the horrific and brutal murders of several young people and with the onset of summer, we will discuss prevention strategies to combat youth violence. Among the many questions we will explore:

- What is the role of city government?
- How should the Boston Police Department approach policing Boston’s communities of color?- Are there any strategies that haven’t been tried or are there lessons to be learned from other communities facing the same issue?- How do you begin to heal the psyche of communities experiencing murder in their midst? Join us at 7:30pm on channel 2 in Boston or live at basicblack.org (where you can also participate in a live chat).

  2. […] RCASA's Saturday Prevention: Youth Violence Prevention Week … […]

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