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Preventing youth violence: an overview of the evidence

  • 11 November 2016
  • Posted by: Jane Piazer
  • Number of views: 5219
Preventing youth violence: an overview of the evidence

Youth violence does not “just happen”. On the contrary, whether in the shape of bullying at school, alcohol-related violence in bars, clubs and private spaces, gang violence, or violence associated with the illegal drug trade, youth violence is often predictable and therefore preventable. The last decade has witnessed steady growth in the number of scientifically published studies describing how programmes to reduce the factors that give rise to youth violence and strengthen those that protect against it have significantly lowered rates of victimization and perpetration. Much of this literature derives from high income countries such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, where, at a national level, homicide rates and other youth violence indicators have shown substantial declines over the past decade. However, there is also a growing number of success stories from low- and middleincome countries where the problem of youth violence is particularly severe, and several of these are described in this manual, along with pointers on how to establish policies supportive of youth violence prevention programming. The aim of this manual is to help policy-makers and planners everywhere – particularly in settings with limited human and financial resources – to address youth violence using an evidence-informed approach. The manual provides a science-based framework for understanding why some individuals are more likely to become involved in youth violence than others and why youth violence is more concentrated in particular communities and sectors of the population than in others. This framework incorporates a life-course approach that recognizes how behaviour in the present is shaped by earlier developmental stages. It also takes into account how youth violence is influenced by characteristics of the individual; family and peer relationships; and features of the community and society, such as economic inequality and high levels of alcohol consumption.

Institution:World Health Organization (WHO)
Author:Berit Kieselbach and Alexander Butchart

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