What is Youth Violence
Violence is defined as, “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against another person or against a group that results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation”
Youth violence is carried out by young people from as young as ten years old until about 29 years old.
According to a World Health Organisation report, an estimated 200 000 youth, globally, are murdered every year and this makes youth violence the fourth leading cause of death in young people throughout the world.
In addition to these deaths, millions of young people sustain violence-related injuries and many develop mental health problems and 'at risk' behaviours such as smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, unsafe sex and criminal activities.
Youth violence also comes at a great cost to families forcing many to seek legal assistance and iin medical cost. It also puts a huge burden on the national health care bill, welfare and criminal justice costs. It interupts productivity and it decreases the value of property in areas where it occurs and it puts a stain on many communities prone to such violence.
Emotionally, youth violence wrecks families and can put strain on relationships. In short, youth violence is destructive in every way.
But youth violence does not “just happen”. It usually has the warning signs, many of which are ignored and it builds up over a period of time.
Some of the factors that influence youth violence include child abuse including child neglect and abandonment, domestic violence, a history of crime in the family, conduct disorder; little or no education as as result of absenteeism from school and early high school drop out, the harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs and bullying.
Growing up with poor parental supervision; having experienced harsh and inconsistent discipline by parents and associating with delinquent peers all play a role in youth violence.
There are no winners in youth violence but there are many losses. Talent is lost, brillance of young people is lost and money spent on education is lost through youth violence.
Barbados recently recorded some serious cases of youth violence.
Three schools students are presently awaiting sentencing for their role in the bullying of another student that apparently led to his death. The 12-year-old student who was often beaten by his bullies was running away from them one evening after school when he ran in the path of an oncoming vehicle which resulted in his death.
A female student was severely beaten by a number of students from her school in May, 2017. A video of the school girl being chased, beaten and kicked by a group of schoolmates outside of the school premises went viral on social media.
Four schoolboys were charged in relation to a social media posting and voice note showing a student from one school being attacked and beaten by several boys from another school.
A student was fatally stabbed on the school premises during this school term and another student is on a murder charge related to that incident.
An 11 year old was stabbed by another youth (Jan, 2020)
A 14 year old boy was charged for muder (Jan 2020).
An 18 year old is charged for murder (Feb, 2020)
The above involved children between the ages of 12-18.