According to a recent WHO Report, worldwide an estimated 200 000 homicides occur among youth 10–29 years of age each year, making it the fourth leading cause of death for people in this age group.
Youth homicide rates vary dramatically between and within countries.
Globally, 83% of youth homicide victims are males, and in all countries males also constitute the majority of perpetrators. Rates of youth homicide among females are much lower than rates among males almost everywhere.
In the years 2000-2012, rates of youth homicide decreased in most countries, although the decrease has been greater in high-income countries than in low- and middle-income countries.
For every young person killed by violence, more sustain injuries that require hospital treatment.
Firearm attacks end more often in fatal injuries than assaults that involve fists, feet, knives, and blunt objects.
Sexual violence also affects a significant proportion of youth. For example, 3–24% of women surveyed in the “WHO Multi-country study on women's health and domestic violence” reported that their first sexual experience was forced.
Physical fighting and bullying are also common among young people. A study of 40 developing countries showed that an average of 42% of boys and 37% of girls were exposed to bullying.
Youth homicide and non-fatal violence not only contribute greatly to the global burden of premature death, injury and disability, but also have a serious, often lifelong, impact on a person's psychological and social functioning. This can affect victims' families, friends and communities.
Youth violence increases the costs of health, welfare and criminal justice services; reduces productivity; decreases the value of property.
Promising prevention programmes include:
- life skills and social development programmes designed to help children and adolescents manage anger, resolve conflict, and develop the necessary social skills to solve problems;
- school-based anti-bullying prevention programmes;
- programmes that support parents and teach positive parenting skills;
- preschool programmes that provide children with academic and social skills at an early age;
- therapeutic approaches for youths at high risk of being involved in violence
- reducing access to alcohol;
- interventions to reduce the harmful use of drugs;
- restrictive firearm licensing and purchasing policies;
- community and problem-oriented policing; and
- interventions to reduce concentrated poverty and to upgrade urban environments.