This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution Licensewhich permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Abstract To inform a city-wide youth Violence Prevention Initiative, we explored youth narratives about their exposure to violence to gain insight into their understanding of the causes and effects of violence in their communities. At-risk youth were recruited through street outreach for individual interviews and focus group sessions. Reactions ranged from motivating positive effects resilience, determination to escape to negative effects fear, paranoia, and aggression.
Youth Violence Prevention Youth violence, perpetrated both by and against young people, results in considerable physical, emotional, social, and economic consequences. Youth violence refers to harmful behaviors that can start early and continue into young adulthood.
Youth violence includes various behaviors. Some violent acts—such as bullying, slapping, or hitting—can cause more emotional harm than physical harm. Others, such as robbery, assault, rape, homicide and suicide can lead to serious injury or even death.
The scope of youth violence is broad. Youth can be perpetrators or victims of violent acts. Hence, policies must be designed to distinctively address perpetration of and victimization from acts of violence. The Bureau of Justice Statistics includes rape, robbery, aggravated assault and homicide as serious violent crimes1; and when these acts of violence involve youth, either as a perpetrator or a victim, they indicate serious youth violence.
However, those involving young people, particularly young black males, have been on the rise. Strategies, policies, and programs need to take these links into account. Much of the serious youth violence is perpetrated by youth outside of home and school settings. As a consequence, the community itself is a key focus for youth violence prevention activities.
All members of communities with high rates of youth violence suffer as well through its negative effects on safe mobility, the nature and quality of social relations, business activity, and housing prices.
Literature cites numerous risk factors and predictors of violence in youth. Evidence from the literature indicates that the strongest categories of predictors for youth violence include individual psychological factors, family factors, school factors, peer-related factors, and community and neighborhood factors.
In addition, environmental factors that may promote youth violence such as poverty, poor housing, geographic segregation of poor families; inadequate social institutions such as schools, social services and criminal justice; and the role of racism in the treatment of families of color, including youth, need further research to better understand and prevent youth violence.
Interventions that have been documented to be effective must be used by communities, states, and the nation to prevent youth violence. A Sourcebook for Community Action, which identified 4 key areas for prevention: The initiative has also identified 18 promising programs that if replicated could potentially become model programs.
Special attention is also needed to ensure that culturally competent interventions are available for racial and ethnic minority populations and communities if study samples are inadequate.
Prevention efforts must be comprehensive and address all levels that influence youth violence: Efforts to identify the best combinations of approaches at multiple levels could lead to a better understanding of how programs, policies, or strategies at the community and societal levels interact with individual and relationship-level programs to maximize impact.
School-based prevention programs have shown promise in the prevention of youth violence. Such ineffective programs are costly and may drain resources that could be better allocated to effective, evidence-based programs.
Collectively, effective programs aimed at preventing youth violence reap the benefits of not only a reduction in violence but also a reduction in economic losses, overall improvements in quality of living in the affected communities, and the inhibition of presently diminishing social capital.
The public health approach to preventing youth violence includes collecting high-quality data about the problem, with an emphasis on and commitment to identifying policies, programs, and strategies that are effective; disseminating evidence-based strategies to communities to ensure the best science is used; and planning and evaluation to ensure the prevention strategies are comprehensive and have the desired effects.
However, there is limited public health infrastructure to prevent youth violence. We must build the necessary public health infrastructure to support youth violence prevention at the local, state, and national levels. Public health departments must have resources and professionals that focus on youth violence prevention with an infrastructure and capacity that is proportionate to the public health burden in the service areas.
The American Public Health Association APHA recognizes the need to build a public health infrastructure for youth violence prevention that include academic institutions, local health departments, and community-based organizations to implement more effective youth violence prevention and improve public health.
Effective translation of youth violence prevention research to action requires building and reinforcing the public health infrastructure that a synthesize and translate information on effective interventions and communicate it to all stakeholders; b build the general skills and motivations of communities and organizations and strengthen their capacity to successfully implement specific interventions; c deliver high-quality implementation of specific interventions at the national, state, or local level; and d strengthen research and program evaluation to monitor the quality, costs, and continued effects as interventions become more widely diffused.
Public health infrastructures founded on these principles could seamlessly add new discoveries as they are made, ensuring that the best available scientific evidence are immediately translated, supported, and delivered to communities. Action Steps There is a strong call for action to prevent youth violence.
Major urban cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, and Baltimore are experiencing escalation in youth violence threatening social capital. Inthe Surgeon General found that the most pressing need was the national resolve to confront the problem systematically, using evidence-based approaches and correcting the myths and stereotypes that impede progress.
The APHA has a commitment to promote healthy behaviors of youth that could, if coupled with the right social and environmental interventions, prevent youth violence.
A Report of the Surgeon General2 and other evidence: Continue to build the science base. Accelerate the decline in gun use and stabbings by youths in violent encounters. Facilitate the entry of youths into effective intervention programs rather than incarcerating them.
Disseminate model programs with incentives that will ensure fidelity to original program design when taken to scale. Provide training and certification programs for intervention personnel. Convene youths and families, researchers, and private and public organizations for a periodic youth violence summit.
Improve federal, state, and local strategies for reporting crime information and violent deaths.Results from the Chicago Youth Development Study (CYDS) showed 80% of inner city adolescent boys reported exposure to violence in their lifetime and 56% of . NATIONAL CENTER FOR EDUCATION STATISTICS June Urban Schools The Challenge of Location and Poverty Laura Lippman Shelley Burns Edith McArthur National Center for.
Office of Youth Violence Prevention Mission. To end the epidemic of violence by using evidence-based, public health and human service models that impact underlying health, social, and economic disparities, through effective advocacy, collaboration, and programming for, and in partnership with youth, families, and citizens of Baltimore.
May 10, · The Real Problem With America’s Inner Cities. disconnected youth and a culture of violence among a small but destructive minority in the inner cities; and, on the other hand, of out-of.
title = "Violence prevention: An evaluation of program effects with urban African American students", abstract = "While many violence prevention programs have been developed to combat the problems of violence and aggression among youth, few programs have been evaluated.
May 27, · Another study of urban, primarily African American children found that among girls, community violence exposure was significantly related to different forms of anxiety, but not among boys (White et al. ). Although there are clear age differences in youth’s exposure to community violence, the impact of gender is less clear.