Thursday's Child Forum Preventing Youth Violence in Communities: What Does the Evidence Tell Us?

February 25, 2011

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From left to right: Cheryl Smithgall, Thomas R. Simon, Deborah Gorman-Smith, and Karen Barbee-Dixon

Youth violence is a public health crisis in the United States. Based on the most recent statistics, approximately 20 percent of high school students report being bullied at school, and over 30 percent report being in a physical fight. Homicide is the second leading cause of death of young people, with an average of 16 youth murdered every day.

There is no simple or single answer to reducing youth violence. The problem is multiply determined and requires coordinated effort at multiple levels and across systems. Because of the complexity of the issue, programs need to address children and families at different developmental ages and engage with youth at varying levels of associated risk and involvement.

Efforts should be coordinated among the social systems that have the most direct influence on youth at different stages of development--families, schools, community agencies, and justice--and should focus both on primary prevention and interventions directed toward both high-risk and “deep-end” (those already actively engaged in violence) youth.

Panelists: Deborah Gorman-Smith, Research Fellow, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, and Principal Investigator and director of the Chicago Center for Youth Violence Prevention; Thomas R. Simon, Deputy Associate Director for Science, Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Karen Barbee-Dixon, Chief Operating Officer, Habilitative Systems, Inc (HSI). Cheryl Smithgall, Research Fellow, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, moderates the discussion.

Recorded Thursday, February 24, 2011 at the Gleacher Center.