It is not a secret that sometimes youths make poor decisions, leading to them committing acts of violence. According to the CDC, acts of violence committed by youth cost over $100 billion annually. One example of violence committed by youth is simple assault which makes up over 40% of crimes committed by juveniles. Other crimes committed by young people include larceny, aggravated assault, vandalism, robbery, motor vehicle theft, and homicide. Given the nature of these crimes, we will look at some of the causes of youth violence.
A major factor in youth violence is drugs. Approximately 80% of minors in the juvenile justice system in the US committed their crime while under the influence of drugs or admitted to having a drug problem. In addition, between 1.9 and 2.4 million minors in the juvenile justice system have a drug problem.
Experts call this relationship between drugs and crime a psychopharmacological relationship because drug use was a factor in criminal behavior. Other crimes associated with drugs include:
- The manufacturing of drugs.
- Theft of drugs.
- Disputes over drugs.
- The use of illegal drugs.
Among the legal charges, a youth can face from drugs includes drug possession, drug trafficking, and drug manufacturing. If they remain on a young person’s record, any of these charges can have long-term implications for education and job opportunities in the future. This all assumes that a juvenile does not lose their life from an overdose or experience related to drug behavior.
Problems within the family can also lead to youth violence. Today, many homes no longer fit a traditional pattern of married biological parents supporting children. In addition, sexual abuse to about 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls in the USA. Furthermore, 90% of the victims experience this trauma at the hand of someone they knew.
The signs of sexual abuse are difficult to tell among teenagers as they vary wildly at this age. However, some things to look for are changes in behavior and emotions. The trauma they have experienced in their personal life could lead to poor choices in behavior outside of the home.
Single-parent homes can also lead to poor choices. For example, one study found that a 10 percent rise in the number of youths living in a single-parent home leads to a 17 percent jump in crime caused by juveniles. In general, as the family breakdown, there is an increase in the crimes committed by young people.
Mental health is another factor in criminal behavior among young people. About 65% of juveniles arrested for a crime have a mental health issue. About 1 in 7 of all young people, in general, have a mental health issue. Given the impulsive nature of teenagers, it should be no surprise how mental health issues can make things even worst.
Of course, the concepts influence each other. Drug abuse can lead to mental health issues, and mental health issues can lead to drug use. Crime can lead to drug use and or mental health issues and vice versa. Sexual abuse can lead to drug use and or health issues. These ideas are interconnected, but you have to decide what you are looking for when developing a model.
Young people face many challenges today. From broken homes to threats to their physical being to challenges with mental health, young people have to be vigilant. If a youth goes down the path of violence, it is always important to see what factors lead to such a faithful decision.