Types of Violence Involving Youth
In the United States, children and youth experience violence in many forms as victims, offenders or witnesses. Youth violence can be defined as the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against another person or group that results in high likelihood of injury, death, psychological harm, mal-development or deprivation among persons ages 10 to 24.
Bullying in Schools
Although bullying is sometimes seen as “a part of growing up” or “kids being kids,” bullying in schools is a serious problem. Imagine the kid who is picked on every day, whether physically, socially, or through cyber-bullying. Think about Rebecca Sedwick, the 12-year-old who committed suicide in Florida following a year of bullying at the hands of two young girls. To Rebecca, the bullying was so serious and distressing that she took her own life.
Child Sex Trafficking
It’s difficult to imagine a situation where children are sold or traded as commodities. It is even more challenging, and heartbreaking, to imagine that these same children would be viewed as criminals, rather than victims. However, this scenario plays out with children forced into the sex trade industry.
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious public health problem that is disturbingly common among adolescents and young adults ages 10 to 24. In fact, it is by far the most prevalent type of youth violence, and it impacts our nation’s youth regardless of gender, race, socioeconomic class, or sexual orientation. Approximately 1 in 3 teens in the U.S. is a victim of teen dating violence, which involves physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner. Stalking is also a common type of teen dating violence and is often committed by intimate partners or acquaintances.
Domestic Violence and Child Abuse
If we’re not assessing the risk of Intimate Partner Violence for our pediatric patients, then we’re keeping our eyes closed to a strong and potent risk factor for child maltreatment.
Gun violence, as many Americans see through television, social media, and other news outlets, is often perceived as random, mass shootings in public places. As horrifying as those events may be, they display but a fraction of the impact of daily gun violence that exists in our neighborhoods and towns. On an average day in America, 93 people (including 7 children and teens) die by gunfire, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It is difficult for most of us to understand how anyone— regardless of their age, relationships, or grievance— could shoot a child or youth, especially on school grounds.
Suicide and Self-Harm
It can be hard to understand what would drive someone to take his or her own life. Suicide is a desperate attempt to escape suffering. Many people with suicidal thoughts do not want to die – they want to end their pain. Suicidal people can be blinded by their despair and see no other option.