Youth violence varies across subgroups. The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in Preventing Youth Violence: Opportunities for Action that disparities of youth violence are evident in subgroups of race, gender, and sexual identity.
The first disparity occurs when looking at the homicide rates for racial and ethnic minority groups. For instance, homicide is the leading cause of death for African American youth (28.8 per 100,000) and the second leading cause of death for Hispanic youth (7.1 per 100,000). Meanwhile, the homicide rate for non-Hispanic white youth is 2.1 per 100,000 (a value 13.7 times lower than the one for African American youth).
Additionally, different variations occur with different forms of youth violence. In the bar graph “Physical Fighting and Bullying Among High School Students in the United States by Race/Ethnicity, 2013”, one can see that more Black (35%) and Hispanic (28%) students reported that they had been in a physical fight in the past year than White (21%) students.
The frequency of youth violence is also dependent on sex. For instance, the youth homicide rate for males (12.3 per 100,000) is 6 times higher than for females (2.1 per 100,000). Additionally more male (30%) than female (19%) students reported that they had been in a physical fight in the past year. But, youth violence is still prevalent in young females, despite what the previous data might suggest. In 2012 alone, more than 221,900 female youth were rushed to the emergency room to treat physical assault related injuries and 30,830 were arrested for violent crimes (consisting of 19% of all arrests ages 10-24).
Sexual minority youths are also at risk. LGBTQ students are more likely to report that they had been in a physical fight in the past year (43% of bisexual students, 42% of gay or lesbian students, and 35% of questioning students) than heterosexual students (29%). Additionally, sexual minorities are more likely to be injured in a physical fight (16% of gay or lesbian students, 10% of questioning students, and 9% of bisexual students) than heterosexual students (3%).
This can all be dangerous since occurrences like these are tied to higher rates of suicidal behaviors.
With this information, we can identify where to implement needed preventative measures in schools and communities. We can become more informed as to who is at risk and stop school violence, once and for all.
David-Ferdon C, Simon TR. Preventing Youth Violence: Opportunities for Action. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014.