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Published by: SimPattyk Imaginland on Jun 19, 2010
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Violence and Youth
In light of alarming statistics and news stories about increasing youth violence, it’simportant to put these reports into perspective. The majority of youth are not involved inserious violent crime, as evidenced by the 1996 juvenile violent crime rate of 3.5 per-cent.
Also, research is consistently showing that a small number of juvenile offenders areresponsible for a majorityof the offenses. TheNational Youth Surveyfound that only fivepercent of youthcommitted 83 percent of serious crimes.
Despite the culture’stendency to focus on thepoor choices of someyoung people, one shouldnot overlook the fact that amajority of adolescents aremaking healthy decisionsto avoid violence.
 Juvenile responsibility for violence
To determine theextent of youth violence, one should examine a number of indicators, from crime rates tostudent surveys.
The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (known as AddHealth), a federally sponsored study of more than 90,000 teens, found slightly more than10 percent of males and five percent of females reported committing a violent act in the 
Statistics from different sources may vary due to a multitude of factors, including differing methods of data collection; choices of age ranges and time periods; measurements of perception versus actual partici-pation; reporting by rates or actual numbers; and definitions of participation. Through this overview of statistics, IYD hopes to provide the reader with a comprehensive picture of youth risk behaviors, recogniz-ing that some specific statistics may seem to indicate inconsistent trends or levels of participation.
Youth arrestedfor a seriousviolent juvenilecrime
Source: National Crime Victimization Survey, 1980-1996, U.S. De-partment of Justice; Uniform Crime Reports, FBI
Serious Juvenile Violent Crime Rate, 1996
2past year (i.e. “physical fight, injured someone, group fight, threatened someone with aweapon, used a weapon in a fight, shot or stabbed someone”).
Another measure of youth involvement in violence is the juvenile arrest rate. Un-fortunately, from 1986 to 1995, juvenile arrests for violent crime increased by 67 percent.In that same time, juvenile arrests increased by: 90 percent for murder and non-negligentmanslaughter; four percent for forcible rape; and 78 percent for aggravated assault.However, despite these alarming statistics, there was a promising overall three percentdecrease from 1994 to1995 in violent crimes perpetrated by youth. Adolescents are re-sponsible for 18.7 percent of violent crimes committed by the total population.
Another indication of the degree of youth involvement in violence is the prevalenceof school violence. A first-ever survey of violence in public schools, released by theWhite House in mid-March 1998, found thatone in 10 American publicschools experiencedserious violence such asrape or robbery last year.Based on questionnaire re-sponses from principals of more than 1,200elementary, middle andhigh schools nationwide,the study found:
43 percent of schoolsreported no incidentsof crime in the 1996-97 school year.
80 percent of schoolsreported five or fewer crimes (both violent and non-violent).
10 percent of schools reported serious violent crimes (physical attacks or fights inwhich a weapon was used, robberies, rapes or other kinds of sexual assault).Crime was more common at larger schools and those in urban areas. In the study,principals rated absenteeism, tardiness and fights as the three most common disciplineproblems.
Characteristics of juvenile perpetrators of violence
According to the Add Health study, teens are most likely to commit violent acts if they “have been a victim or a witness to violence; carry a weapon; are involved in deviantbehavior, or sell drugs.” Also, welfare recipients, younger teens, urban youth and NativeAmerican teens are most at risk for engaging in violence.Fifty-one percent of juvenile offenders arrested for violent crimes were white, 41percent were black, and eight percent were another race.
0%20%40%60%80%100%MurderRapeRobberyAggr. AssaultArsonJuvenileAdult
Source: Crime in the United States, 1996. FBI
Juvenile vs. Adult Responsibility for Crime
3Although males still commit a majority of violent acts; evidence indicates femalesare becoming more violent. From 1991 to 1995, female juvenile arrests increased 34 per-cent, compared to a nine percent increase among male juveniles.
Males generallycommit more violent crimes, and prevalence rates increase with age for males throughoutadolescence. In contrast, violence among female juveniles generally peaks at age 15 andthen declines.
 Juvenile victims of violence
Another aspect of violence that affects today’s youth is violent victimization. TheNational Crime Victimization Survey found that almost 12 percent of all adolescentsclaimed to be victims of violent crime (aggravated assault, rape and robbery) in 1994.
The number of juvenile homicide victims has increased by 82 percent since 1984,with the majority of the increase being attributed to firearm related homicides. Firearm-related homicides nearly tripled since1984, while the number of homicidesnot involving guns remained level.In 1994, seven juveniles per daywere murdered. Fifty-three percentof those were ages 15-17 and 30percent were younger than six yearsold. One in five of those juvenilesmurdered were killed by another juvenile.
Juveniles are most likelyto victimize other juveniles (ages 12-19) in other violent crimes as well.
Other crimes of adolescentviolent victimization includephysical, sexual, and emotionalabuse by a caretaker (i.e. parents, daycare workers, etc.). According to the NationalStudy of the Incidence and Prevalence of Child Abuse and Neglect, 0.84 percent of chil-dren under 18 were harmed by abuse.
Of those children who are abused 
, half are abusedphysically; one-third are abused emotionally; and one-fifth are abused sexually.
In the school setting, victimization has remained stable since 1989.
The Students’ Report of School Crime: 1989 and 1995,
a study of both public and private school stu-dents released by the federal government, found the level of students who claimed to bevictims of crime at school in 1989 remained stable in 1995 (14.5 percent in 1989 com-pared to 14.6 percent in 1995). Also, compared to1989, there was only a slight increase in1995 in the percentage of students who reported violent victimization at school (3.4 per-cent to 4.2 percent).
Students Reporting CriminalVictimization at School
(Ages 12-19)
Students’ Reports of School Crime 
, NationalCenter for Education Statistics

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