(KERO) — Youth gun violence is a problem that impacts communities across this country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) homicide is the third leading cause of death for those between the ages of 10 to 24 behind accidents and suicide.
Each day about 13 young people are victims of homicide in the country. And more than 1,000 end up in emergency rooms with assault-related injuries.
What is Youth Violence?
Youth violence is a serious public health problem and an adverse childhood experience (ACE) that can have long-term impact on health and wellbeing. Youth Violence is the intentional use of physical force or power to threaten or harm others by young people ages 10-24. It typically involves young people hurting peers who are unrelated to them and who they may or may not know well. Youth violence can include fighting, bullying, threats with weapons, and gang-related violence. A young person can be involved with youth violence as a victim, offender, or witness.
Youth violence is connected to other forms of violence. Different forms of violence have common risk and protective factors, and victims of one form of violence are more likely to experience other forms of violence. Many risk factors for youth violence are linked to toxic stress from experiencing ACEs. Toxic stress (extended or prolonged stress), can negatively change the brain development of children and youth.
Then there's the cost. Youth homicides and assault-related injuries total more than $20 billion each year in medical bills and lost productivity costs alone. That does not include costs associated with the criminal justice system, psychological, and social consequences for victims and their families.
How can we stop youth violence before it starts?