Violence by teenagers is a serious problem in Stark County. In addition to causing physical and emotional harm to others, adolescents who are violent disrupt their families so much that many break-up. Violent youths impede their own social development into self-sufficient adults by damaging social, familial and educational relationships.
Children are exposed to violence every day in their homes, schools, and communities. They may be struck by a boyfriend, bullied by a classmate, or abused by an adult caretaker. They may witness an assault on a parent or a shooting on the street. Such exposure can cause significant physical, mental, and emotional harem with long-term effects that can last well into adulthood.
Nearly 600 youths in Stark County Family Court were charged with an act of violence in 2004 (according to the Stark County Family Court database). The acts included felonious assault, simple assault, menacing, and domestic violence. Many times, the youth, both male and female, had engaged in progressively more turbulent behavior over a period of 12 to 18 months prior to their arrest.
U.S. Department of Juvenile Justice Data from 2004 Arrest Study
- 51% of juvenile domestic assault victimized a parent
- 24% of juvenile domestic assault victimized a sibling
- most commonly used weapon was a knife
- 35% of juvenile domestic assault offenders were female
- 84% of juvenile domestic assault offenders acted alone
- 88% of juvenile assault offenders committed their crime in the home
Research shows that youth charged with offenses of violence are characterized by anti-social attitudes and thinking, poor social and communication skills, drug abuse, and low commitment to education. Is it any wonder they then don’t develop into healthy, self-sufficient adults? Furthermore they go on to perpetuate violence into their adult relationships.
We have success!
The first Teen Violence Prevention Education Program began in November 2005. To date, 230 at risk male and female youths, 95% of who live in poverty, have been treated, and the results have been positive. Of those treated, less than 5% have re-offended.