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America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2021

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.81, 82

Indicator PHY6: Rate of serious violent crime victimization of youth ages 12–17 by gender, 2005–2019
Indicator PHY6: Rate of serious violent crime victimization of youth ages 12–17 by gender, 2005–2019

NOTE: Serious violent crimes include aggravated assault, rape, robbery (stealing by force or threat of violence), and homicide. Homicide data were not available from this source for 2019 at the time of publication. The number of homicides for 2018 is included in the overall total for 2019. In 2018, homicides represented less than 1% of serious violent crime, and the total number of homicides of juveniles has been relatively stable over the last decade. Estimates may vary from previous publications due to updating of more recent homicide and victimization numbers. See Criminal Victimization, 2007, https://www.bjs.gov, for more information. In 2016, the National Crime Victimization Survey sample was redesigned, so 2016 estimates among youths are not comparable with estimates for other years.

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

  • In 2019, the rate at which youth were victims of serious violent crimes was 6 crimes per 1,000 youth ages 12–17. A total of 141,900 such crimes occurred in 2019.
  • The rate of serious violent crimes involving youth victims was not significantly different from 2010 to 2019. However, the rate in 2019 was significantly lower than the rate in 2005 of 14 crimes per 1,000 youth.
  • Older youth (ages 15–17) were statistically as likely to be victims of a serious violent crime as younger youth (ages 12–14) in 2019.
  • Male youth were more likely to be victims of a serious violent crime than female youth in 2019.
  • From 2005 to 2019, the rate at which male youth were victims of serious violent crime declined from 18 crimes per 1,000 male youth ages 12–17 to 8 per 1,000. The rate for female youth declined from 9 to 3 per 1,000 female youth ages 12–17 during the same time period.

table icon PHY6 HTML Table

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

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