Dept. of Justice

Prevention Strategies

Prevention efforts should aim to reduce factors that place youth at risk for perpetrating violence and promote factors that protect youth at risk for violence. In addition, prevention should address all types of influences on youth violence: individual, relationship, community, and society. Effective prevention strategies are necessary to promote awareness about youth violence and to foster the commitment to social change.

Youth violence prevention continues to advance rapidly. Many prevention tools have been developed and implemented; many of these prevention programs and strategies have been evaluated and found to be effective at preventing violence and related behaviors among youth. Such evidence-based programs have shown positive effects in rigorous evaluations.


A Comprehensive Technical Package for the Prevention of Youth Violence and Associated Risk Behaviors
CDC developed this technical package to help states and communities take advantage of the best available evidence to prevent youth violence.

Collaborative Efforts Needed to Address Youth Violence
This web page from SAMHSA describes initiatives designed to promote healthy children and prevent youth violence through a collaborative approach.
The National Institute of Justice’s is comprised of two components: a web-based clearinghouse of programs and practices and a process for identifying and rating those programs and practices.

Model Programs Guide
OJJDP’s Model Programs Guide contains information about evidence-based juvenile justice and youth prevention, intervention, and reentry programs. It is a resource for practitioners and communities about what works, what is promising, and what does not work in juvenile justice, delinquency prevention, and child protection and safety.

STRYVE Strategy Selector
This CDC tool is designed for any practitioner or community seeking information on how to prevent youth violence. It combines rigorous evaluation science with the flexibility required for communities to devise a tailored approach to youth violence prevention.

Federal Data

Thousands of people experience youth violence every day. Youth violence negatively impacts youth in all communities—urban, suburban, rural, and tribal.

  • Youth violence is common. 1 in 5 high school students reported being bullied on school property in the past year.1
  • Youth violence kills and injuries. Homicide is the third leading cause of death for young people ages 10-24. Each day, approximately 12 young people are victims of homicide and almost 1,400 are treated in emergency departments for nonfatal assault-related injuries.2
  • Youth violence is costly. Youth homicides and nonfatal physical assault-related injuries result in an estimated $18.2 billion annually in combined medical and lost productivity costs alone.ii

The impact of youth violence is not the same for all young people and communities. The rates and types of youth violence vary across communities and across subgroups of youth. These disparities can be attributed to different exposure to risk and protective factors.

  • Disproportionate burden on ethnic and racial minority youth. Homicide is the leading cause of death for African-American youth, the second leading cause of death for Hispanic youth, the third leading cause of death for American Indian/Alaska Native youth, and the fourth leading cause of death among White and Asian/Pacific Islander youth. ii
  • Different patterns for males and females. The youth homicide rate in 2016 was 6 times higher among males than females. ii The prevalence of involvement in physical fights among high school students also was approximately 1.7 times higher for male compared to female students.3 In contrast, female high school students were more likely than their male peers to report being a victim of bullying at school.iii
  • Disproportionate burden on sexual minority youth. Young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender or are questioning their sexual identity (LGBTQ) have a heightened risk for violence. Relative to peers who do not identify as LGBTQ, these youth report experiencing higher levels of verbal and physical violence and associated physical injury across multiple studies.4


Bureau of Justice Statistics
This bureau at the U.S. Department of Justice collects, analyzes, publishes, and disseminates information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operation of justice systems at all levels of government.

Indicators of School Crime and Safety
The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice publish this report on school crime and student safety each year.

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
NCES is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations. NCES fulfills a Congressional mandate to collect, collate, analyze, and report complete statistics on the condition of American education; conduct and publish reports; and review and report on education activities internationally.

National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS)
NVDRS provides states and communities with a clearer understanding of violent deaths to guide local decisions about efforts to prevent violence and track progress over time. NVDRS is the only state-based surveillance (reporting) system that pools data on violent deaths from multiple sources into a usable, anonymous database.

Statistical Briefing Book
This resource enables users to access online information via OJJDP's website to learn more about juvenile crime and victimization.

Uniform Crime Reporting
The FBI collects data on crime in the United States. Each year, the FBI publishes a summary of Crime in the United States, Hate Crime Statistics, special studies, reports, and monographs.

CDC’s WISQARS (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System) is an interactive, online database that provides fatal and nonfatal injury, violent death, and cost of injury data from a variety of trusted sources.

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System
CDC administers a nationwide survey every two years in public and private high schools so investigators can examine health-related behaviors including fighting, weapon carrying, bullying, dating violence, and sexual violence.

1 Kann et al., 2016
2 CDC, 2016
2 CDC, 2017
2 Institute of Medicine, 2011

A Positive Youth Development Research Agenda

The Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs recognizes the importance of Positive Youth Development (PYD) and created a national Research Agenda on PYD that describes the key research domains and questions that could benefit from future research.

American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) Youth

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010, there were roughly 5.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) living in the U.S., representing approximately 1.7 percent of the total U.S. population.1 This represents an 18 percent increase since the last decennial census. Of this group, more than 2.1 million American Indians and Alaska Natives are under the age of 24.2 This is approximately 42 percent of the total AI/AN population.

  • Nearly half of AI/ANs live on reservations or designated tribal lands in the western states, with the largest populations in Arizona, California, Oklahoma, and New Mexico,3 and 60 percent live in urban communities.
  • The states with the largest proportion of AI/ANs include Alaska with nearly 15 percent of the state population,4 California with 14 percent, and Oklahoma with nearly 10 percent.5

There are 573 federally-recognized tribes in 35 states in the United States.6 Each tribe is distinct, with its own form of self-governance, culture, traditions, language, and community infrastructure. In the state of Alaska there are 229 federally-recognized tribes.7

Sovereignty is a legal word for the authority to self-govern and to protect and foster the health, safety, and welfare of AI/AN peoples within tribal territory. Essentially, tribal sovereignty refers to tribes’ inherent rights to manage their own affairs and to exist as nations. Currently, the 573 sovereign tribal nations (variously called tribes, nations, bands, pueblos, communities, and Native villages) have a political government-to-government relationship with the U.S. government.

Tribal governments exercise jurisdiction over 100 million acres of land, that would make Indian Country the fourth largest state in the nation.8 Tribal governments are an important and unique member of the American family of governments, which includes tribal governments, the U.S. federal government, and the U.S. states. The U.S. Constitution recognizes that tribal nations are sovereign governments.

As members of tribes, AI/AN people have both an ethnic and political status. As governments, tribes exercise substantial governing powers within their territory, including regulating research. Similar to federal and state governments, tribes have sovereign power over their lands, citizens, and related affairs.

As a result of the government-to-government relationship between tribes and the federal government, the federal government is obligated by a responsibility relationship to protect tribal resources. Federal policies are designed to further the trust relationship including offering certain social services such as education and health, and support for tribal services provision. Previous federal policies of forced removal of AI/AN tribes from their traditional homelands, and forced assimilation of AI/AN people into mainstream America have exacerbated some of the social service needs of AI/AN youth.

Although tribes and their governments vary widely, to be a member of a tribe means to share a common bond that may include ancestry, kinship, language, culture, ceremonies, and political authority with other members. AI/AN tribes are working diligently to reverse the negative impacts of poverty, historical and intergenerational trauma, health, education, and justice disparities to ensure the future, health, and well-being of their members.


Native American Youth 101: Information on the Historical Context and Current Status of Indian Country and Native American Youth (PDF, 10 pages)
This resource provides information on the historical context and current status of Indian country and Native American youth.

The Center for Native American Youth
The Center for Native American Youth was developed to improve the health, safety, and overall well-being of Native American youth through communication, policy development, and advocacy.

The National Congress of American Indians
The National Congress of American Indians provides several channels to support Native youth, including the NCAI Youth Commission, the National Native Youth Cabinet, NDN Spark, and internships and fellowships. In 2011 and 2012 NCAI collaborated with the Department of Justice to host the National Indian Youth Summit.


1 American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes in the United States and Puerto Rico: 2010, 2011
2 Native American Youth 101, n.d.
3 Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives: 2008
4 U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, race counted as ‘Native American and Alaska Native alone’
5 U.S. Census Bureau, 2012, race counted as ‘Native American and Alaska Native alone or in combination’
6 Bureau of Indian Affairs, 2014
7 U.S. Department of the Interior, Indian Affairs, 2016
8 National Congress of American Indians, n.d.

HHS and DOJ host listening session with youth who have an incarcerated parent

The effects of incarceration are felt far beyond prison walls: children, families, and communities also experience the consequences of incarceration.

City of Seattle's Youth Violence Prevention Plan


The Seattle Youth Opportunity Initiative represents a comprehensive approach to ensuring all youth transition successfully to adulthood, healthy and violence free. In Seattle, the injury or death of even one young person is too many.

In April 2015, the Community Planning Committee designed and held the Mayor’s Youth Opportunity Summit, which was designed to gather information directly from the participants to identify strengths of current efforts, gaps in those efforts, and recommendations for action. More than 400 participants attended the Summit and provided valuable ideas that have strongly informed this plan.

Since taking office in 2014, Mayor Ed Murray has prioritized young people, especially youth of color and the city’s most vulnerable populations. The Seattle Youth Opportunity Initiative is a Mayoral priority, and will use a citywide approach to focus on those neighborhoods and communities most affected by violence and inequitable access to resources.

The initiative leverages the current Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, providing a framework for alignment of resources in the City’s Human Services Department as well as future alignment with resources in other City departments such as Libraries, Parks, and Police.


Race and Social Justice: Violence does not affect all Seattle communities equally. The City’s efforts will address the social inequities that make violence more likely in certain communities and/or groups of people.

Community Engagement: It takes a community to care for its youth, and the success of a community depends on including those most affected by violence in defining the problem and shaping priorities.

Shared Leadership: Community leadership ensures that violence prevention strategies fit with local culture, history, and context.

Multi-Sector Collaboration: The value that more can be achieved together than alone is reflected in this plan, along with the expertise and wisdom of more than 20 city, county, and state agencies and numerous community stakeholders.

An Integrated Approach: Seattle’s commitment to preventing violence and creating opportunities for youth and young adults of color is supported by three national initiatives: My Brother’s Keeper, Cities United, and the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention.

Efforts Across the Prevention Continuum: Through the Seattle Youth Opportunity Initiative, the City of Seattle is committed to ensuring that our strategies to support youth and young adults’ successful transition to adulthood cover the continuum of prevention, intervention, enforcement and reentry.

Goals & Objectives

The Seattle Youth Opportunity Initiative strategic plan lays out five primary goals:

  1. Youth and young adults transition to adulthood.
  2. Youth and young adults achieve academic success.
  3. Youth and young adults are safe from violence and free from justice system involvement.
  4. Youth and young adults are healthy, physically, socially, and emotionally.
  5. The Seattle Community is mobilized in support of these goals.

No single factor causes or prevents violence, so the goals and strategies presented in this plan address the priority risk and resilience factors in Seattle’s most affected communities.


The governance structure for the Seattle Youth Opportunity Initiative includes participation from community, City and County representatives who are most relevant to the specific function of each committee, and subject matter experts. The structure is designed to ensure multi-sector engagement, access to best practices and published research, and to enable decision-making through shared leadership.

National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention Communities: Seattle

The Seattle Youth Opportunity Initiative represents a comprehensive approach to ensuring all youth transition successfully to adulthood, healthy and violence free. In Seattle, the injury or death of even one young person is too many.

The initiative leverages the current Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, providing a framework for alignment of resources in the City’s Human Services Department as well as future alignment with resources in other City departments such as Libraries, Parks, and Police.

Point of Contact:

Tara T. James, Ed.M.
Strategic Advisor, Youth and Family Empowerment
Seattle Human Services Department
(206) 233-7915


City of Louisville's Youth Violence Prevention Plan


The One Love Louisville — Youth Edition plan puts forth five goals aimed at reducing youth involvement, exposure and impact of homicides, shootings, and aggravated assaults using the balanced and coordinated PIER (prevention, intervention, enforcement and re-entry) approach.

The initiative is led by Louisville’s Mayor Greg Fischer and his Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods (OSHN). The Center for Disease Control’s Public Health Approach to youth violence is utilized and the goals focus on increasing positive outcomes and coordinating efforts in five systemic areas.

One Love Louisville — Youth Edition serves as an addition to the strategic plan currently in progress and focuses on increasing positive outcomes for youth (0 to 24 years of age) who reside in Louisville Metro Police Department divisions 1, 2, and 4.

Local data illustrates that young adults (ages 18 to 30 years of age) lose their lives as a result of homicide more often than any other age group. If efforts are focused on youth 24 years of age and under, there is potential to reduce the number of youth who are exposed to violence, become victims of violence, or perpetuate violence.


A city of safe neighborhoods where all citizens feel secure, supported, and prepared for lifelong success.


Emphasis on Effectiveness and Efficiency: We can reduce violence by increasing and systematizing coordination and collaboration by forging new partnerships and combining resources.

Results Orientation: We commit to common results and indicators for the city as a whole, and the development of a schedule and method to track progress.

Target Resources: Resources will be found to fund OSHN projects and they will be directed to areas most affected by violence.

Representation: Everyone will have a role and a voice—increase resident and neighborhood engagement and build positive connections.

Engage Leadership: Champions from all of Louisville’s communities will be called to participate, influence, and impact the work.

Balance: We utilize an approach that balances personal accountability and mutual assistance in the following relationships: neighbor-to-neighbor, parent-to-child, government-to-resident, youth-to-community, and community- and faith-based-organization-to-member.

Goals & Objectives

One Love Louisville — Youth Edition highlights five goals that target three police divisions in Louisville: Divisions 1, 2, and 4. The OSHN’s approach to preventing youth violence is not separate to the approach for preventing overall community violence.

The goals and objectives aim to reduce youth violence by focusing on areas that impact the lives of our youth systemically. For Louisville youth, these areas are:

  1. Community Building
  2. Education
  3. Employment and Economic Development
  4. Health and Social Wellness
  5. Juvenile and Criminal Justice


Under the leadership of Mayor Greg Fischer and Chief of Community Building, the OSHN and the One Love Louisville Youth Implementation Team lead this effort by leveraging its convening power, dedicated staff and resources. The OSHN is currently staffed, full-time with a Director and Program Coordinator and has two unpaid internship opportunities.

The OSHN’s Director works to: bridge the work of violence prevention and response across 37 Metro departments and affiliated agencies; convenes the Advisory Committee; oversees the development of baselines; identifies gaps (and redundancies) in services; identifies best practices; cultivates key partnerships; identifies community and youth leaders; and oversees the communication strategy to accompany its release.

The responsibilities of the Program Coordinator consists of researching strategies and programs; conducting staff and community trainings; tracking reports; overseeing communications (on-line and written); facilitating community and governance structure meetings; and developing and maintaining a data collection system to monitor, evaluate, and report goal and objective progress.

National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention Communities: Louisville

The One Love Louisville — Youth Edition plan puts forth five goals aimed at reducing youth involvement, exposure and impact of homicides, shootings, and aggravated assaults using the balanced and coordinated PIER (prevention, intervention, enforcement and re-entry) approach.

Local data illustrates that young adults (ages 18 to 30 years of age) lose their lives as a result of homicide more often than any other age group. If efforts are focused on youth 24 years of age and under, there is potential to reduce the number of youth who are exposed to violence, become victims of violence, or perpetuate violence.

Point of Contact:

Rashaad Abdur-Rahman, LCSW
Director of Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods
Office of Mayor Greg Fischer
Metro Hall, 527 West Jefferson Street
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 574-2029

Facebook: Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods
Twitter: @SafeHealthyLou
Instagram: @SafeHealthyLou


City of Long Beach's Youth Violence Prevention Plan


The development of Safe Long Beach was a collaborative effort involving youth, adults, community and faith-based organizations, the school district, law enforcement, and city and county government. Safe Long Beach is a permeable plan owned by all stakeholders and will be updated biannually to stay current with local trends. Safe Long Beach is a plan that examines existing evidence-based prevention strategies and practices. It assesses how the existing citywide resources, services, and programs are being utilized and recommends how to coordinate these services in an effective and efficient manner.


Long Beach residents live in safe families and communities, attend safe schools, and are contributing citizens connected to their community.

Risk & Protective Factors

Safe Long Beach proposes to build upon protective factors, defined as conditions or attributes in individuals, families, communities, or the larger society that, when present, mitigate or eliminate risk in families and communities. At the same time, Safe Long Beach will work to reduce risk factors, defined as conditions or variables associated with a lower likelihood of positive outcomes and a higher likelihood of negative or socially undesirable outcomes.


Rooted in the framework of collective action, multi-sector collaboration includes resources, knowledge, and actions that are combined and focused to help achieve the shared goal of violence reduction and increased safety.

Early intervention is also a key aspect of the Safe Long Beach strategy. Early intervention and targeted resources can help strengthen families, improve educational attainment, and increase community involvement, which can have lasting positive effects in reducing acts of violence.

Theory of Change

Safe Long Beach is based on a theory of change to reduce violence with three pillars grounded in nationally recognized best and promising practices:

  • Strengthen families
  • Build positive youth development
  • Support community leadership

SAFE Families Goals

  • Increase access to violence prevention services
  • Reduce family violence including child abuse, domestic violence, and elder abuse

SAFE Schools Goals

  • Increase the high school graduation rate
  • Increase safety in and around schools

SAFE Communities Goals

  • Increase community resident safety
  • Decrease the unemployment rate
  • Reduce Part 1 crimes1

1 Part 1 offenses are serious crimes that occur regularly in all regions of the country and include offenses such as criminal homicide, robbery, aggravated assault, and burglary; Information retrieved on June 27, 2016, from