Youth violence poses a significant public health issue due to its health antecedents (e.g., health inequalities, mental health issues, alcohol misuse) and consequences (i.e., physical and psychological morbidity, and mortality). While violence and its desistance have traditionally been the purview of the criminal justice system, the importance of a preventative public health approach has been increasingly acknowledged. The public health approach employs scientific methods, seeks to intervene at multiple levels (primary, secondary and tertiary), and advocates for the involvement of multidisciplinary stakeholders. This article outlines the public health approach to youth violence; discusses examples of current public health research into youth violence prevention (i.e., school-based interventions, and gang interventions); and provides a brief review of the evidence regarding youth violence perpetrators and well-being, which suggests mixed outcomes (positive and negative) depending upon intentionality of violence, and congruency with group norms. The article concludes by highlighting future research directions.
- Public health
- Youth violence