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The Basics

Youth violence affects all communities and community members. It is a leading cause of death for adolescents and young adults. The impacts of youth violence can be devastating and last a lifetime, but preventing youth violence is possible.

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Risk Factors

Research shows that a combination of individual, relational, community, and societal factors contribute to a youth’s risk of violent behavior. For example, some factors include exposure to violence at home or in the community, low parental supervision, gang involvement, and high levels of community unemployment, instability, and crime.

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Protective Factors

A young person’s skills, experiences, relationships, and community can help protect them from violence. These buffers include high academic achievement, connectedness to family or trusted adults, close relationships with non-violent peers, and involvement in positive activities.

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Youth violence has serious effects on the physical, mental, and social health of youth including increasing risk for depression, smoking, substance use, high-risk sexual behavior, academic difficulties, and suicide. It also takes a toll on communities’ health care and social service systems and property values.

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More information from CDC and credible sources can support your efforts to stop violence before it starts. Explore these resources to help start, guide, and strengthen your approach to improving the health and well-being of people and the community where they live.

* The titles of these documents changed in July 2023 to align with other Prevention Resources being developed by CDC's Injury Center. The original titles are noted in each document's suggested citation section.


Innovative and ongoing research gives the evidence and insight needed to prevent violence. Consult these trusted data sources to better assess how risk and protective factors influence people’s lives and impact where they live, work, and play.

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  • National Violent Death Reporting System

    CDC has funded 50 states and territories and established the National Violent Death Reporting System to link information about the “who, when, where, and how” from data on violent deaths and provides insights about “why” they occurred. This enables policy makers and community leaders to make informed decisions about violence prevention programs, including those that address sexual violence and intimate partner violence.

  • Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System

    The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System monitors six categories of health-related behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among youth and adults.

  • National Electronic Injury Surveillance System – All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP)

    The NEISS-AIP provides data on injuries resulting from self-harm that are treated in emergency departments.


    Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) is an interactive database that provides national injury-related morbidity and mortality data.

Published Date: July 22, 2019; Last Reviewed: Sept 15, 2023

Source: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention