Youth Violence

Youth ViolenceScope of the Problem

  • Over 877,700 persons from 10 to 24 years old were injured from violent acts in 2002.1
  • The second leading cause of death among 10 to 24 year olds is homicide
  • For African-Americans, homicide is the leading cause of death
  • For Hispanics, it is the second leading cause of death
  • For Americans Indians, Alaska Natives, and Asian/Pacific Islanders, it is the third leading cause of death
  • This may reflect bias in arrests than a genuine ethnic difference.2
  • Females are more likely to be forced to have sex than males.1
  • Juvenile aggression rose until 1993 but since then has declined to rates similar to 1983.2
  • However, aggressive assault rates are 70% higher than in 1983.2
  • Juvenile homicides by firearm have been on the decline since 1994, while juvenile homicides without firearms have remained steady since 1980.2
Characteristics of Juvenile Aggressors:
  • Chronic aggressors that continue into adulthood typically begin their aggression prior to age 13. 2
  • Most youth violence ends with the transition into adult
  • Substance abuse rates may be as high as 70% among kids who kill
  • Boys are much more likely than girls to be perpetrators of homicide.2
  • When girls kill, they typically kill people they know
  • Research’s most consistent finding on juveniles that perpetrate homicide, particularly on family members, is that they have been exposed to or victimized by domestic violence. They have often been physically or sexually abused.


  1. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (2005). Youth Violence: Fact Sheets. Accessed August 2, 2005 from:
  2. Coulter, M. (2005, April). Pathways to Violence Lecture. University of South Florida College of Public Health.