Worldwide, an estimated 200 000 homicides occur each year among youth and young adults aged 10-29 years, making homicide the fourth leading cause of death in this age group. Eighty three percent of homicide victims in this age group are male, and nearly all of these deaths occur in low-income and middle-income countries. For each young person killed, many more sustain injuries requiring hospital treatment. Beyond deaths and injuries, youth violence can lead to mental health problems and increased health-risk behaviours, such as smoking, alcohol and drug use, and unsafe sex. Youth violence results in greatly increased health, welfare and criminal justice costs; reduces productivity; decreases the value of property in areas where it occurs; and generally undermines the fabric of society.
Publications and campaign materials
- Preventing youth violence: taking action and generating evidence
World report on violence and health, Chapter 2, Youth Violence
- Preventing violence by developing life skills in children and adolescents [pdf 353kb]
- Preventing violence by reducing the availability and harmful use of alcohol [pdf 633kb]
- Guns, knives and pesticides: reducing access to lethal means [pdf 383kb]
- Changing cultural and social norms that support violence [pdf 933kb]
- Preventing violence and reducing its impact: how development agencies can help [pdf 643kb]
WHO's youth violence prevention objectives are to:
- raise awareness of the immediate and long-term health consequences of youth violence
- highlight its preventability
- prioritize youth violence prevention in international and national health and development agendas
- reduce youth violence by supporting countries to increase capacity and establish youth violence prevention policies and programmes, and
- expand the global evidence base to cover more low- and middle-income countries.
Data collection and research
- The WHO Global Burden of Disease project includes estimates of deaths, morbidity, and Disabilty-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) due to violence against youth.
- The Global Schools-based Student Health Survey contains an optional module on violence among 13-15-year- olds.
- WHO publishes and disseminates evidence on youth violence prevention and campaign materials.
- WHO acts as the Secretariat of the Violence Prevention Alliance) which has a significant focus on youth violence prevention.