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OJJDP News @ a Glance March 2024

Preventing Youth Victimization and Violence

Stock Photo of a Culturally Diverse Group of Teens

Youth victimization trends are alarming, especially among young people involved in the juvenile justice system. A recent OJJDP-supported study on firearm injury and mortality found that system-involved youth were up to 23 times more likely than the general population to die from gun violence. Sixteen years after confinement, more than 25 percent of Black and Hispanic male youth had been injured or killed by firearms.

In contrast, youth crime rates have been decreasing for nearly 30 years. While some jurisdictions have experienced increases in violent crime, data from the 2022 National Crime Victimization Survey show no major shift in the incidence and patterns of youth crime. 

“OJJDP is committed to collaborating and innovating in ways that create safe homes, schools, and communities for our youth. They deserve no less.”

— OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan

OJJDP strives for a country where children live free from violence and victimization. The Office embraces a vision of opportunity for young people, with community-based programs and opportunities, and services for youth at every point in the juvenile justice system. Office funding decisions reflect a continuum of care framework, with prevention, intervention, and reentry strategies implemented alongside enforcement strategies. This holistic approach serves both youth who are at risk for delinquency and those at risk for victimization. 

OJJDP funds numerous initiatives to support youth who have endured victimization. They include the:

  • Strategies To Support Children Exposed to Violence program, which supports local efforts to develop coordinated, comprehensive, community-based strategies that help children and families recover emotionally and socially, build resilience, and prevent future exposure to violence. 
  • Victims of Child Abuse (VOCA) Act program, which funds projects and training for professionals who serve child survivors of abuse, such as court personnel and court-appointed special advocates/guardians ad litem. The program also funds children’s advocacy centers, which coordinate the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases and the treatment of child victims. 
  • Enhancing School Capacity To Address Youth Violence initiative, which supports school-based efforts to prevent and mitigate violence and victimization. The program supports collaborations between schools and communities that implement evidence-based strategies and promote safe, healthy learning environments. 

“OJJDP is committed to supporting innovative services for all youth,” Administrator Ryan says. “We can help young people imagine a different way of living, and we can help them make it a reality.”

Date Created: March 27, 2024