Youth Violence

Violence Prevention: The Evidence

In addition to its focus on preventing violence in adolescents and young adults, the World Health Organization (WHO) seeks to address the root causes of violence among the youngest of children. WHO describes “[v]iolence amongst children [as] a public health problem, worldwide,” and believes that by reinforcing positive values in a child’s formative years, violence will not be carried out later in life. Children during their younger years can be introduced to essential life skills, such as “responsible-decision making” and “self-management,” allowing youth to develop critical intrapersonal awareness that keeps them accountable for their actions. Additionally, at-risk youth and the underserved are particularly addressed in this source as it cites the connections between academic achievement and completion of school with lower rates of violence and delinquency.

World Health Organization. “Violence Prevention: The Evidence.” 2009. Web. 16 July 2014. <http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/life_skills.pdf>.

 

Preventing youth violence: What does and doesn’t work and why? (p. 26-58)

This report, from the Australian Research Alliance for Children & Youth, focuses on the commonly discussed tactics that work for preventing violence and deviates from the norm by also including what doesn’t work so well. The authors describe different forms of prevention of youth violence that involve a wide range of practices, from family therapy and working with parents to restorative practices and youth programs. However, it is important to note that not all of the programs listed provide ample evidence in regards to their efficacy. A few require more research. A key point the source makes is that “[d]oing something is not always better than doing nothing. Research shows that while some prevention approaches show no evidence of a reduction in violence and antisocial behavior, others have negative effects.” These ineffective practices include bringing high-risk youth together, subjecting youth to shaming, and using stringent school policies.

Hemphill, Sheryl A. and Rachel Smith. “Preventing youth violence: What does and doesn’t work and why?” Australian Research Alliance for Children & Youth. October 2010. p. 26-58. Web. 25 July 2014. <http://www.aracy.org.au/publications-resources/command/download_file/id/122/filename/Preventing_Youth_Violence_-_What_does_and_doesn’t_work_and_why.pdf>.

 

Guide for Preventing and Responding to School Violence (p. 4-16)

Occurring in an ostensibly safe environment that encourages growth and development, school violence remains an unfortunate reality for many young people today. In this source, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) delineates many ways in which schools can work with problematic students by encouraging them to make positive contributions, which in turn allows youth to not feel the need to use violence as an outlet. The BJA lists a multitude of violence prevention practices recommended for teachers, school administrators, and other staff members. Furthermore, the BJA recommends tactics that extend beyond the reaches of an educational setting, such as in community and domestic life.

Bureau of Justice Assistance. “Guide for Preventing and Responding to School Violence.” p. 4-16. Web. 16 July 2014. <https://www.bja.gov/Publications/IACP_School_Violence.pdf>.

 

Eliminating violence against children (p. 48-64)

This source brings up salient points as to what governments can do to prevent youth violence in a variety of settings, including school, care and justice systems, and working environments. Each problem discussed is presented with specific steps to take to address the aforesaid issue, as well as “Suggestions for Parliamentary Action.” The handbook addresses the three main levels involved in initiating the drafting of legislation to prevent violence against youth. These levels include posing questions to the government, initiating debates within parliaments, and addressing issues related to violence against children within a local setting. Asking questions allows existing problems concerning youth violence to be brought to the government’s attention, leading to more aggressive investigations and means to seek redress for past abuses and the prevention of possible future abuses.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union and UNICEF. “Eliminating violence against children.” 2007. p. 48-64. Web. 16 July 2014. <http://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Eliminating_violence_against_children_eng.pdf>.

 

Preventing Teen Dating Violence: A Plan for Healthy Youth Relationships in Minnesota (p. 13-28)

The Minnesota Department of Health’s plan for the prevention of teen dating violence (TDV) addresses a concern that is widespread, albeit underreported. The authors note that “many people and organizations are concerned about preventing teen dating violence but there is little coordination of efforts,” thus deserving much needed action by promoting healthy relationships between young people. The department presents a tripartite plan that creates a set of deadlines, requisites, and procedures for ongoing evaluation. In order to effectively target this underreported form of violence, communities and its youth must work together to raise awareness and implement the outlined plans that allow for easy access to resources. Media, in particular, is a crucial part of the recommendations due to its profound influence on young adults.

“Preventing Teen Dating Violence: A Plan for Healthy Young Relationships in Minnesota.” Minnesota Department of Health. 21 December 2011. p. 13-28. Web. 25 July 2014. <http://www.health.state.mn.us/injury/pub/tdv_state_plan/StatePlan-PreventingTeenDatingViolence.pdf>.

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