U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch delivered sobering statistics yesterday at a national summit on preventing youth violence: More than three of five U.S. children have been exposed to crime, violence or abuse, the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange reports. “This violence can take many forms and can occur virtually anywhere — from the streets of our neighborhoods to the far reaches of cyberspace; from the schools where our children learn their earliest lessons, to the homes where they should feel most secure,” Lynch told the fourth National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, held in northern Virginia.
Lynch, in her first major speech on juvenile justice and youth violence, said research has shown that whether children observe or are victims of violence or abuse, it will make them more likely to fall behind in school, to suffer anxiety and depression, to struggle with drug or alcohol abuse, and to take part in a cycle of violence. She said efforts to prevent youth violence must be intensified “until a child's ZIP code does not dictate that child's future.” The summit, launched in 2010, is a gathering for those participating in the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention to share ideas and develop strategies. Participants included representatives of the 16 cities in the forum as well as youth leaders and officials from federal and state agencies, law enforcement and school systems, along with private partners that support local efforts.