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America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2013

Youth Victims of Serious Violent Crimes

Violence frequently has dire and long-lasting impacts on young people who experience, witness, or feel threatened by it. In addition to causing direct physical harm to young victims, serious violence can adversely affect their mental health and development and increase the likelihood that they themselves will commit acts of serious violence.79, 80 Youth ages 12–17 are more than twice as likely as adults to be victims of serious violent crimes.81

Indicator Phy6: Rate of serious violent crime victimization of youth ages 12–17 by gender, 1980–2011
Rate of serious violent crime victimization of youth ages 12–17 by gender, 1980–2011

NOTE: Serious violent crimes include aggravated assault, rape, robbery (stealing by force or threat of violence), and homicide. Homicide data were not available for 2011 at the time of publication. The number of homicides for 2010 is included in the overall total for 2011. In 2010, homicides represented less than 1 percent of serious violent crime, and the total number of homicides of juveniles has been relatively stable over the last decade. Because of changes, data prior to 1992 are adjusted to make them comparable with data collected under the redesigned methodology. Some 2010 estimates have been revised since previous publication in America's Children due to updating of more recent homicide numbers. See Criminal Victimization, 2006,

SOURCE: Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey and Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reporting Program, Supplementary Homicide Reports.

  • In 2011, the rate at which youth were victims of serious violent crimes was 8 crimes per 1,000 youth ages 12–17. A total of 206,200 such crimes occurred in 2011.
  • Serious violent crimes involving youth victims stayed about the same from 2010 to 2011. However, the rate was still significantly lower than its peak in 1993. In 1993, the serious violent crime victimization rate was 42 per 1,000 youth, compared with the 2011 rate of 8 per 1,000 youth.
  • In 2011, White, non-Hispanic youth were as likely as Hispanic youth to be victims of a serious violent crime.
  • In 2011, Black, non-Hispanic youth were more likely than White, non-Hispanic youth and non-Hispanic youth of 2 or more races to be victims of a serious violent crime.
  • Older youth (ages 15–17) were as likely to be victims of a serious violent crime as younger youth (ages 12–14) were in 2011.

table icon PHY6 HTML Table

79 Turner, H.A., Finkelhor, D., and Ormrod, R. (2006). The effect of lifetime victimization on the mental health of children and adolescents. Social Science & Medicine, 62, 13–27.

80 Schreck, C.J., Stewart, E.A., and Osgood, D.W. (2008). A reappraisal of the overlap of violent offenders and victims. Criminology, 46(4), 871–905.

81 Snyder, H.N., and Sickmund, M. (2006). Juvenile offenders and victims: 2006 national report (Publication No. NCJ 212906). Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.