Best Practices to Prevent Youth Violence | Best practices in injury prevention

Best Practices to Prevent Youth Violence

February 2003

The Problem

Youth are disproportionately affected by violence. Between the ages of 12 and 17, they are twice as likely as adults to be victims of serious violent crimes and three times as likely to be victims of simple assault. Homicide is the third leading cause of death for people age 15 to 24 in Minnesota. And, the rates of victimization for rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault are higher among people under age 25 than among other age groups.

Violence takes many forms, and includes verbal, emotional, sexual and physical abuse. In all its forms, violence is most often perpetrated by someone known to the victim, including family members and peers.

Prevention Strategies

    Promote a safe and supportive home environment
    • Increase the capacity of parents and/or caregivers to raise nonviolent youth.
    • Assure and promote alcohol and chemical dependency treatment for parents.
    • Support and facilitate help-seeking where family violence occurs.
    • Educate about the benefits and ways of restricting exposure to violent media.
    • Promote connectedness between family members and the community.
    Work with schools to proactively prevent violence
    • Fully implement evidence-based youth violence prevention programs.
    • Promote on-site screening and intervention, including mental health services for trauma, loss, use of alcohol and other drugs, and abuse.
    • Intervene early with students with multiple risk factors for violence.
    • Create school climates that foster a sense of inclusivity and belonging among students.
    Organize the community to reduce risks and increase protective factors
    • Strategically engage in youth development approaches.
    • Provide youth with opportunities to discuss and develop healthy intimate relationships.
    • Reduce access to alcohol.
    • Reduce the proportion of persons living in homes with firearms that are loaded and unlocked.
    • Strengthen community standards against violence, harassment, aggression, racism, sexism, heterosexism and bullying.
    Advocate with systems to address social conditions and improve system practices related to violence
    • Advocate for policy initiatives to meet basic family support needs including income, housing, food and nutrition, prenatal and childcare.
    • Train professionals to recognize and respond to violence, and to refer individuals for support.
    • Decrease institutional racism and heterosexism, and promote cultural respect, inclusivity and competency.
    • Endorse and promote a comprehensive package of preventive health services for youth ages 11 to 21.
    • Advocate for funding to expand financing and reimbursement for preventive and primary adolescent health services.
    • Ensure safe housing and neighborhoods.
    • Provide housing and care for all youth who cannot live at home.


(Search these sites for information related to the prevention of Youth Violence)

*There may be links on this site that are external to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). The MDH is not responsible for the content of external sites, nor does it endorse or guarantee the services or information described or offered on external sites.

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Provides resources for helping children after a disaster.
Campus Sexual Violence Prevention Portal (MDH): Includes several resources related to preventing sexual violence on college campuses collected by multiple organizations and professionals working in sexual violence prevention. Resources are organized by different individual roles on campus. /topic/svp/campuskit/
Injury and Violence Prevention Links: Access other sites that are related to injury and violence prevention.
Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force (MNHTTF): MNHTTF is a statewide organization to combat human trafficking in Minnesota.
National Center for Child Death Review: Access state-level data and prevention tips on child deaths.
National Mental Health Information Center: Utilize information on child and adolescent mental health, youth violence
National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center: Locate institutional and community-based efforts directed toward alleviating youth violence.
Outdoor Home Playground Safety Handbook: Learn how to plan, assemble and properly use home playground equipment.
Stop Bullying Now!: Learn what you, as an adult or a child, can do to identify and prevent bullying.
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission: Link to free and reproducible consumer publications on a variety of injury-related topics, including some Spanish language materials.
Youth Violence Fact Sheet, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Summarizes youth violence statistics, covers risk factors and touches on prevention.

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