This year, National Youth Violence Prevention Week is being observed from April 8 through April 12. Founded in 2001 by SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere), National Youth Violence Prevention Week is designed to raise awareness of this issue and educate youth and communities on effective strategies to prevent youth violence before it happens.
Across the country we see youth violence in many forms - everything from bullying and cyber bullying, fights in school or in the community, gang activity, and, in its most extreme form, school shootings. Current estimates state 28% of youth in grades 6-12 have experienced bullying. Most experts consider these to be low estimates, as many youth who experience bullying do not report it due to fear of repercussion.
Nearly all youth who go on to engage in violent acts show multiple visible warning signs. The most common warning signs include:
- Social isolation and/or being a victim of bullying
- Prior threats or “milder” acts of violence
- Social media posts indicating threats or a history of cyber bullying
- History of family dysfunction
- Prior mental health admissions
If there is hope in the wake of these tragedies, it is that we as a community have the power to significantly reduce the prevalence of youth violence. So what can you do? Speak up and encourage everyone you know to speak up as well. Simply telling someone, anyone - a friend, a parent, a professional - can have a significant impact on reducing youth violence and make a difference in a child's life.
You may worry that by pointing something out, you could be doing more harm than good to the individual, perhaps “getting them in trouble” or having them be singled out. You may feel like it’s not your place to say something about someone else’s child. In reality, it is much more likely you are going to be helping that child or family get the supports they need to live a happy and fulfilling life. And in the end, happy and healthy individuals, families, and communities are the best way we can prevent youth violence.
Where to Find Help
If you or someone you know has been a victim of violence and is in need of support, please contact our Access Center at 833-444-6378. For more information on Youth Violence Prevention Week or for more resources on how to prevent youth violence, please view the following links: