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  • BC Community Services
  • Oct 4, 2019

Defining Youth Violence


Youth Violence varies in definition depending on the context of the source. Therefore, we have pulled definitions from multiple sources to gather a rounded picture of what we will be discussing. Below are three definitions from reputable sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • "Youth Violence occurs when young people between the ages of 10 and 24 years intentionally use physical force or power to threaten or harm others. Youth violence typically involves young people hurting other peers who are unrelated to them and whom they may or may not know well. Youth violence can take different forms. Examples include fights, bullying, threats with weapons, and gang-related violence. A young person can be involved with youth violence as a victim, offender, or witness."

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP):

  • "Youth Violence refers to the constellation of harmful behaviors that can start early and continue into young adulthood. It includes violence experienced, perpetrated, or witnessed by a child or youth. Youth Violence covers various behaviors, some of which – such as bullying, slapping, or hitting – can cause harm as well as physical harm and others, such as robbery and assault, that can lead to serious injury or death."

World Health Organization (WHO):

  • "Youth Violence - violence that occurs among individuals aged 10-29 years who are unrelated and who may or may not know each other, and generally takes place outside of the home. Examples of youth violence include bullying, physical assault with or without a weapon, and gang violence. (WHO) Three categories of youth violence:
  1. Self-directed violence is subdivided into suicidal behavior and self-abuse. The former includes suicidal thought, attempted suicides and complete suicide. Self-abuse, in contrast, includes acts such as self-mutilation.
  2. Interpersonal violence refers to violence between individuals. The category is subdivided into family and intimate partner violence, and community violence. The former includes child maltreatment, intimate partner violence and elder abuse. Community violence is broken down into violence by acquaintances and violence by strangers. It covers youth violence, assault by strangers, violence related to property crimes, and violence in workplaces and other institutions.
  3. Collective violence refers to violence committed by larger groups of people and can be subdivide into social, political and economic violence."