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America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2017

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.91, 92

Indicator PHY6: Rate of serious violent crime victimization of youth ages 12–17 by gender, 1980–2015
Indicator PHY6: Rate of serious violent crime victimization of youth ages 12–17 by gender, 1980–2015

NOTE: Serious violent crimes include aggravated assault, rape, robbery (stealing by force or threat of violence), and homicide. Homicide data were not available for 2015 at the time of publication. The number of homicides for 2014 is included in the overall total for 2015. In 2014, 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. Estimates may vary from previous publications due to updating of more recent homicide and victimization numbers. See Criminal Victimization, 2007,, for more information.

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

  • In 2015, the rate at which youth were victims of serious violent crimes was 7 crimes per 1,000 youth ages 12–17. A total of 171,100 such crimes occurred in 2015.
  • Serious violent crimes involving youth victims stayed the same from 2014 to 2015. However, the rate in 2015 was significantly lower than the peak rate of 43 crimes per 1,000 youth in 1990.
  • Older youth (ages 15–17) were as likely to be victims of a serious violent crime as younger youth (ages 12–14) in 2015.
  • Female youth were as likely as male youth to be victims of a serious violent crime in 2015.

table icon PHY6 HTML Table

91 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.

92 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.