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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

NYC School Violence Down, but Dating Violence Up among Teenagers

A new report by New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene shows that violence among teenagers in schools went down between 2003 and 2005, as did weapon carrying, but dating-related violence is rising.

The report is based on data from the 2005 New York City Youth Risk Behavior Survey, and highlights trends in youth violence and how it affects the lives and health of young people in New York City (NYC). The report identifies young people at risk of violence and victimization and how this links to health.

Assault is a leading cause of death among young Americans aged 13 to 19 both across the country and in NYC, where it led to the deaths of 60 young people.

However, the good news is that fighting in the City's schools appears to have gone down significantly from 18 per cent in 2003 to 14 per cent in 2005, reversing the upward trend that had started in 1997.

The proportion of young people reporting being involved in fighting at school in NYC in the past year was the same as the national average, at 14 per cent. This compares with 16 per cent in Los Angeles, California. Boys (17 per cent) were more likely to report fighting than girls (11 per cent), said the NYC report's authors.

The percentage of young people in NYC who reported carrying a weapon to school in the last month also went down from 9 per cent in 1997 to 7 per cent (about 1 in 15) in 2005, which is about the same as the national average of 7 per cent and 6 per cent in Los Angeles. In NYC, boys were more likely to report carrying a weapon than girls, and 1 in 25 youths reported carrying a gun (4 per cent).

However, the proportion of NYC teenagers who said they experienced physical violence from a dating partner had gone up by more than 40 per cent, from 6.5 per cent in 1999 to 10 per cent in 2005, and this reflects the picture across the country said the report's authors. Girls were no more likely to report being physically hurt by a dating partner than boys, but they were twice as likely to report being raped or forced to have sex (girls 10 per cent, boys 5 per cent).

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