European Report on Preventing Violence and Knife Crime among Young People
Interpersonal violence is the third leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability among young people (those aged 10-29 years) in the 53 countries in the WHO European Region. This report describes the burden that violence imposes on the Region, particularly its poorer countries and groups; risk factors and their interactions; factors that can protect young people from violence; and the evidence supporting the efficacy of preventive action. The report concludes by calling for greater investment in prevention and mainstreaming of the objective of preventing violence among young people into other areas of health and social policy.
This burden of disease and death from youth violence is unequally distributed, and 9 of 10 homicide deaths in the Region occur in low- and middle-income countries. Irrespective of country income, interpersonal violence disproportionately affects young people from deprived sections of society and males, who suffer 4 of 5 homicide deaths. Many biological, social, cultural, economic and environmental factors interact to increase young people's risk of being involved in violence and knife-related crime. Factors that can protect young people against violence include good social skills, self-esteem, academic achievement, strong bonds with parents, positive peer groups, good attachment to school, community involvement and access to social support. Good evidence indicates that reducing risk factors and enhancing protective factors will reduce violence. The experience accumulated by countries within and outside the Region shows that social policy and sustained and systematic approaches that address the underlying causes of violence can make European countries in the Region much safer for young people.