Resource Roundup: Community Violence

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A young man looks wistfully through a chain-link fence.

In many communities, young people experience and witness violence every day. They may fear walking outside and going to school and feel that they are constantly in danger. These resources can help you give young people tools to stay safe.

Two short publications for youth from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network tackle the topic of community violence head on. Youth can use the 1-page checklist "Violent Places, Dangerous Times: Does Community Violence Control Your Life?" (PDF, 483KB) to determine if they’ve been affected by violence outside the home. If the answer is yes, young people can go to the fact sheet "Community Violence: Reactions and Actions in Dangerous Times" (PDF, 2MB) for advice and encouragement. The handout lets youth know they are not alone, advising them to talk to a trusted adult about their fears and concerns. A list of hotlines is helpful for young people if they don’t have someone nearby to reach out to.

The National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention is a network of communities and federal agencies that work together, share information and build local capacity to prevent and reduce youth violence. Established in 2010, the forum developed the "Strategic Planning Toolkit for Communities" (PDF, 382KB). It’s a useful tool if your city or community wants to launch or revisit a comprehensive action plan to prevent violence by and against young people. The toolkit lays out a four-step process:

Step 1: Build Partnerships and Raise Awareness

1.1: Initiate a call to action.

1.2: Agree on a common vision of success

1.3: Organize a structure for developing the plan.

Step 2: Gather and Use Data to Inform Strategies

2.1: Review current youth violence research and evidence.

2.2: Collect and share local data on youth violence.

2.3: Use the data to inform strategy selection.

2.4: Identify resources and assets.

Step 3: Write the Plan

3.1: Develop strategies and goals.

3.2: Match resources to strategies and goals.

3.3: Develop measurable objectives and activities.

Step 4: Implement the Plan

4.1: Work the plan.

4.2: Revisit and update the plan.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also tackling the issue of youth violence. Its national initiative Striving To Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere, or STRYVE, helps communities take a public health approach to preventing youth violence—stopping it before it even starts.  If you want to learn about the approach, take the STRYVE online training designed to familiarize you with the key concepts and strategies of youth violence prevention.

Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of NCFY, FYSB or the Administration for Children & Families.

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