WHAT WE KNOW
Youth violence includes the following behaviors.
- Threatening remarks
- Physical fights
- Assaults with or without weapons
- Gang violence
There are steps that teens can take to reduce violence in their communities and in their schools. Mediation is a valuable tool in reducing violence.
Teen violence threatens schools and communities.
- Approximately one in nine murders was committed by a person younger than age 18. On average, about five youths are arrested for murder in this country each day.
- Youths under age 18 accounted for about one in six violent crime arrests.
- One national survey found that for every teen arrested, at least ten were engaged in violence that could have seriously injured or killed another person.
- A review of surveys found that 30-40% of male teens and 16-32% of female teens say they committed a serious violent offense by the age of 17.
- Almost 5% of high school students say they have carried a gun in the past month.
- More than one in six high school students say they have carried a gun, knife, or club in the past month.
- Almost one in four teens reports having easy access to guns at home.
Teens are at risk for becoming victims of violence .
- On average, seven youths are murdered in this country each day. Murder is the second leading cause of death for this age group.
- One in five victims of serious violent crimes is between the ages of 12 and 17. Youth ages 12-17 are three times as likely as adults are to be victims of simple assault and twice as likely to be victims of serious violent crimes.
- Approximately 5% of high school seniors said they have been injured with a weapon in the past year, and almost one in seven said someone has injured them on purpose without a weapon.
- More than one in three high school students said they have been in a physical fight in the past year, and about one in nine of those students required medical attention for their injuries.
- More than one in six students in grades six to ten said they are bullied sometimes, and more than one in 12 said they are bullied once a week or more.
School violence affects teens' attitudes toward education.
- Less than 1% of all violent deaths of school-aged children and teens occurs in or around school grounds or on the way to and from school.
- Almost one in 14 students (and more than one in ten male students) said they had carried a weapon to school in the past month.
- More than one in 13 students said they had been threatened or injured with a weapon, such as a gun, knife, or club, on school property in the past year.
- More than one in seven said they had been in a physical fight on school property in the past year.
- Approximately 5% said they had missed at least one day of school in the last month because they felt unsafe at school or when traveling to or from school.
Who's at risk for serious violent behavior?
- Teens who commit acts of serious violence are often involved in other types of criminal behavior and live a lifestyle that involves a number of risky behaviors, including using drugs, carrying weapons, driving recklessly, and having unsafe sex.
- Although some violent teens begin to get into trouble as children, most don't become involved in a violent lifestyle until their teenage years. Of boys, 20-45% who commit serious violent crimes by the age of 16 or 17 were violent as children, while 45-69% of violent girls were violent in childhood.
- Teens who engage in serious violence before the age of 13 generally commit more serious crimes than do teens who become violent later in life. Such teens are also more likely to engage in criminal behavior into adulthood.
- Friendships with antisocial or delinquent peers, membership in a gang, and involvement in other criminal activity are the most important predictors of serious violence for teenagers.
Gang violence and hazing also threaten teens.
- According to the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center, there are more than 24,500 different youth gangs in the United States, with more than 772,500 members.
- Youth gangs are responsible for much of the serious violence in the United States. Teens who are gang members are more likely to commit serious and violent crimes.
- Gangs provide identity and social relationships for young people who feel lost and frustrated in their economic, social, and/or cultural environment.
- A group must be involved in a pattern of criminal acts to be considered a youth gang, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
- Violence associated with hazing is increasing in the U.S., with nearly 1.5 million high school students becoming the target of hazing, according to a study by Alfred University.
- Most hazing incidents are tied to athletics teams, whose members consider hazing a "rite of passage."
- Hazing violence can include assault, battery, kidnapping, and sexual assault.
- Most teens who initiate hazing were victims of hazing themselves.
- Hazing can leave the victims feeling depressed and suicidal and can sometimes lead to revenge against the perpetrators.
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