According to the CDC, youth violence occurs when there is an intentional use of force or power to injure others. The age of those who are among the perpetrators, victims or witnesses of  this violence is between the ages of 14-24.  The good news is that youth violence is preventable!! According to Janet Benavente from Colorado State University, researchers agree on prevention resources for youth violence:

  • Youth violence is learned and can be unlearned.
  • Youth should be part of the solution for preventing violence.
  • Because violence is such a complex issue, it requires a comprehensive and multifaceted approach.
  • Partnerships and collaborations work more effectively than individual efforts.

In addition, the CDC recognizes that universal school-wide prevention approaches have the best success rate of reducing violence and other risk behaviors in youth. 

Why, as school counselors, should we be concerned with youth violence?  According to the CDC, youth violence is the third leading cause of death among youth ages 14-24. Some staggering facts from the CDC include…

  • 1 out of 4 high school students were in a fight in the past year. 
  • The number of youths involved in a homicide would fill 87 school buses.
  • The number of youths requiring medical attention would fill up 9 stadiums.
  • 7% of youths were threatened with a weapon.
  • 1 out of 5 high school students were bullied at school and 1 out of 6 were bullied online.
  • 7% of students did not go to school due to safety concerns.
  • Medical care and lost wages due to youth violence exceeds $17.5 billion or enough money to put 271,000 students through college!  Think how many counselors could be hired with that amount of money!!!

Understanding Youth Violence Fact Sheet
Understanding School Violence

    Contributing Factors to Youth Violence

    Since there are many factors that contribute to youth violence, sometimes it is difficult to determine which factor(s) will influence aggression.  There are four major factors that impact brutality among teens.

      • Individual factors include past exposure to violence, impulsiveness, poor school achievement, and poor problem solving skills.
      • Relationship factors consist of peer delinquency, family conflict, and poor parental supervision.
      • Community factors are homelessness or frequent moving by the family, weak economy, gang activity, and crime.
      • Societal concerns include acceptable norms of violence, limited education, and limited economic opportunities.

      Although there are many risk factors for youth violence, there are also many protective factors that prevent violence among youth as well.

      Some of these protective factors include:

      High IQ
      Perceived sanctions for misbehavior
      Warm and caring family
      Parental monitoring
      Commitment to school
      Recognition for involvement in conventional activities
      Peers who participate in conventional activities

      Risk Factors and Protective Factors

      Youth Violence Awareness

      How as school counselors can we expand these preventive factors in school? Each year, Students Against Violence Everywhere or SAVE coordinates an awareness campaign to reduce youth violence in schools.  This year, SAVE has chosen a different theme for each day of National Youth Violence Awareness (March 23-27).

      Day 1: Promote Respect and Tolerance

      Day 2: Manger Your Anger

      Day 3: Resolve Conflicts Peacefully

      Day 4: Support Safety

      Day 5: Unite in Action

      National Youth Violence Awareness Month Activities
      Think about hosting a youth violence awareness week. If you want to extend your violence awareness program for the entire month, I have attached other violence awareness topics and 75 different resources to help you educate students, parents, and staff in your school!!  Feel free to share any ideas and I will post them on my blog!

      Other Violence Awareness Topics

      Active Shooter Awareness

      Active Shooter

      Active Shooter: How to Respond


      Pacers: National Bullying Prevention

      Bullying Resources

      Bullying and Suicide Prevention Webinars

      Bullying Prevention Training Module

      Bullying Prevention Toolkit

      Bullying Prevention: A Classroom Discussion

      Bullying Students with Special Needs

      Creating a Safe Space for LGBTQ Students: Online Training

      Cyberbullying Tips for Administrators

      CDC: Electronic Aggression Podcast

      Choking Game


      Recognizing Gangs in Our Community

      Working With Parents in Gang Prevention

      Gang Culture 101

      Recognizing Gangs in Schools

      Influencers of Gang Involvement

      Internet Banging: Social Media Gang Related Violence

      Sexual and Dating Violence

      Break the Cycle: Dating Violence Curriculum

      Dating Matters

      Safe and Supportive Schools: Preventing, Intervening, and Accessing Teen Dating Abuse

      Preventing and Responding to Dating Violence

      Men & Boys: Preventing Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence

      Responding to Transgender Victims of Sexual Assault

      Online Learning Tools: Violence Against Women

      Gender Based Violence: What Schools Can Do

      Rape Prevention and Education

      Sex Trafficking

      Training Tools on Human Trafficking

      How Human Trafficking Impacts Schools

      Human Trafficking 101 for Administrators and Staff

      National Organizations 

      CASEL: Collaborate for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning

      CDC: Injury and Violence Prevention Podcast

      Creating Safe and Respectful Environment- in Classrooms Training Toolkit 

      Find Youth Info: Preventing Youth Violence

      Importance of Education in Reducing Delinquency

      National Crime Prevention Council

      National School Safety Center

      Safe and Supportive Schools

      Safe and Civil Schools
      Safe School Information

      Search Institute

      Threat Assessment in Schools 

      CDC: Youth Violence Prevention

      Veto Violence
      State Safe School Resources

      Arkansas Safe Schools Initiative

      California Safe Schools

      Colorado School Safety Resource Center

      Prevention Works Connecticut

      Florida Safe Schools

      Georgia Center for School Safety, School Climate, and Classroom Management

      Indiana School School Safety 

      Kentucky Center for School Safety

      Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center

      Mississippi Division of School Safety

      Missouri Center for Educational Safety

      Montana Safe Schools

      Nebraska School Safety Center

      North Carolina Center for Safer Schools

      Oregon Safe Schools and Communities Coalition

      Ohio Safer Schools

      Pennsylvania Center for Schools and Communities

      Tennessee School Safety Center

      Texas School Safety Center

      Virginia Center for School Safety

      Washington School Safety

      Injury Centers

      John Hopkins: Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence

      University of Colorado: Center for the Study & Prevention of Violence

      University of Michigan: Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center

      University of North Carolina: The NC Center for Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention

      University of Oregon: Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior

      Virginia Commonwealth University for Positive Youth Development

      Student Organizations

      Safe School Ambassadors

      SAVE: Students Against Violence Everywhere

      SADD: Students Against Destructive Decisions

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