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.82, 83

Indicator PHY6: Rate of serious violent crime victimization of youth ages 12–17 by gender, 2005–2021
Indicator PHY6: Rate of serious violent crime victimization of youth ages 12–17 by gender, 2005–2021

NOTE: Serious violent crimes include aggravated assault, rape, robbery (stealing by force or threat of violence), and homicide. In 2021, homicides represented 1.4% of serious violent crime, and the total number of homicides of juveniles has been relatively stable over the last decade. Beginning in 2021, the number of homicides was estimated using the FBI's National Incident-Based Reporting System. From 1993-2020, the number of homicides were estimated using the FBI's Supplementary Homicide Reports. See Criminal Victimization, 2007,, 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. The 2020 NCVS weights include an additional adjustment to address the impact of modified field operations due to COVID-19. The 2020 estimate for female youth did not meet reporting standards due to insufficient unweighted sample cases and is excluded from the graphic. For more information on the weighting adjustments applied in 2020, see the Source and Accuracy Statement for the 2020 National Crime Victimization Survey in the NCVS 2020 Codebook ( and Criminal Victimization, 2020 (NCJ 301775, BJS, October 2021).

SOURCE: Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey and Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reporting Program, National Incident-Based Reporting System.

  • In 2021, the rate at which youth were victims of serious violent crimes was 4 crimes per 1,000 youth ages 12–17. A total of 89,800 such crimes occurred in 2021.
  • The rate of serious violent crimes involving youth victims was not significantly different from 2010 to 2021. However, the rate in 2021 was significantly lower than the rate in 2005 of 14 crimes per 1,000 youth.
  • Older youth (ages 15–17) were as likely to be victims of a serious violent crime as younger youth (ages 12–14) in 2021.
  • Male youth were as likely to be victims of a serious violent crime as female youth in 2021.
  • From 2005 to 2021, 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 3 per 1,000. The rate for female youth declined from 9 to 4 per 1,000 female youth ages 12–17 during the same time period.

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82 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.

83 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.