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May | June 2016

Justice Officials Address National Summit on Preventing Youth Violence
National  Forum on Youth Violence Prevention

At the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention's Fifth National Summit, Administration officials, mayors, chiefs of police, community advocates, and youth leaders shared strategies to reduce and mitigate the impact of violence on our nation's youth. Other participants included representatives from the White House My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, public health officials, and school officials from across the country.

Picture of a young, scared childThe summit was held in Baltimore, MD, on June 27–29, 2016. On the opening day, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch stressed the Administration's commitment to addressing youth violence and the lifelong consequences of exposure to violence.

“Homicide is the third leading cause of death for youths between the ages of 10 and 24. Every day—every day—13 young people are murdered in our country. Today, in America, this reality is simply unacceptable,” the Attorney General said. “At the Department of Justice, we are determined to use every tool at our disposal to prevent, reduce, and end this violence. We are engaged with our federal partners across the Administration and with diverse stakeholders around the country to learn about and promote what works to prevent youth and gang violence; to support innovative solutions; and to create durable progress.”

According to a study funded by OJJDP, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of American children and adolescents are exposed to violence, crime, or abuse either as a victim or a witness. Nearly 60 percent of the children surveyed had been exposed to violence in the past year, and more than 1 in 10 reported 5 or more exposures.

OJJDP Administrator Robert Listenbee underscored the summit's theme, “A Hopeful Future: Sustaining Our Work To End Youth Violence,” by highlighting ongoing federal initiatives led by OJJDP—such as the Defending Childhood Initiative and the Community-Based Violence Prevention program—that are addressing the violence epidemic that has adversely affected youth, families, and neighborhoods across America. “Childhood should not be marred by violence, crime, or abuse,” said Mr. Listenbee. “The growing body of research on adolescent development and the impact of violence and trauma on healthy development will continue to inform our policy and our programs. Presently, nine federal agencies are involved in youth violence prevention work.

Other federal speakers at this year’s summit included Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President; Broderick Johnson, White House Cabinet Secretary and Chair of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force; Karol V. Mason, Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Justice Programs; John B. King, Jr., Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education; Thomas E. Perez, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor; and Michael D. Smith, Executive Director of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force.

Breakout sessions covered a range of topics, including—

  • Sustainability of violence prevention efforts
  • Youth leadership development
  • Public-private collaborations
  • Supportive school discipline
  • Police and youth engagement

Created in 2010 at the direction of President Obama, the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention is active in Baltimore, Boston, Camden, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Salinas, San Jose, Seattle, Long Beach, and Louisville. The forum models a new kind of federal and local collaboration, encouraging its members to change the way they do business by sharing common challenges and promising strategies through comprehensive planning and coordinated action. The U.S. Departments of Justice, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor, as well as the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy are the forum's federal partners.


An archive of the summit livestream is available on the OJJDP website.

More details about the forum, summaries of the cities' plans, and a strategic planning toolkit are available online.