Research Topic

Violence and the Young: A Public Health Problem - Etiology, Epidemiology, Intervention, and Prevention

About this Research Topic

Violence is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as “The intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation.” This definition encompasses different types of violence, including physical and non-physical acts. It also embraces the concept of intra- and interpersonal violence, harmful behaviors towards oneself or assaults by other people. When manifested physically on the intrapersonal level it represents suicide and self-harm, and on the interpersonal level, it represents assaults, rapes, and abuse. In terms of violence among young people recent statistics presented a concerning picture. As reported by the WHO, 43% of global homicide occurred in young people aged between 10 and 29 years.

Development of the latest Internet technologies and the widespread utilization of social media has resulted in increased exposure, in both quantity and degree of detail, to violence around the world. More unsettling is the involvement of young people in violent behavior and activities, either as victims or perpetrators. A recent example is that among the arrested rioters during the social unrest and street violence during July to December 2019 in Hong Kong, a large proportion were young people aged under 18 years, including children as young as 12 years. On the other hand, young children are exposed to violent images and reporting on a daily basis. It has been well established that exposure to violence in all forms, either directly or indirectly, has an impact on the socio-emotional well-being of young children and a long-term effect on their mental health at a later stage of development. Violence in young people is an important public health issue that requires a holistic preventive approach with intervention programs not only targeting children and young people, but all levels of the community including the family, the school system, the legal and medical systems, and also the government.

The aim of this Research Topic is to unite researchers around the world to share their wisdom and recent discoveries in the field. The content of the Research Topic is confined to the issues of violence among young people from 0 to 18 years, both as victims or perpetrators. In terms of the form of violence, we adopt the WHO definition presenting a wider perspective of violent intent and violent behaviors. These include, but are not limited to: physical and non-physical abuse, intentional injuries, sexual abuse and assault, physical and non-physical bullying, cyber-bullying, and aggressive behavior exhibited among young children. In terms of the context of violence, it could be at school, home, workplace, in the community, or elsewhere.

Given the complexity of the topic presented as a public health problem, the preventive mechanism and intervention activities would require an interdisciplinary or even transdisciplinary approach. We welcome contributions from researchers and scholars from all disciplines including medical and health backgrounds, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and other sciences and humanities. Of specific interest are evidence-based preventive measures and intervention programs that could be potentially applied in different demographic, socioeconomic, and geographic populations.


Keywords: Violence, Risk Factors, intervention, prevention, child and adolescent


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Violence is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as “The intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation.” This definition encompasses different types of violence, including physical and non-physical acts. It also embraces the concept of intra- and interpersonal violence, harmful behaviors towards oneself or assaults by other people. When manifested physically on the intrapersonal level it represents suicide and self-harm, and on the interpersonal level, it represents assaults, rapes, and abuse. In terms of violence among young people recent statistics presented a concerning picture. As reported by the WHO, 43% of global homicide occurred in young people aged between 10 and 29 years.

Development of the latest Internet technologies and the widespread utilization of social media has resulted in increased exposure, in both quantity and degree of detail, to violence around the world. More unsettling is the involvement of young people in violent behavior and activities, either as victims or perpetrators. A recent example is that among the arrested rioters during the social unrest and street violence during July to December 2019 in Hong Kong, a large proportion were young people aged under 18 years, including children as young as 12 years. On the other hand, young children are exposed to violent images and reporting on a daily basis. It has been well established that exposure to violence in all forms, either directly or indirectly, has an impact on the socio-emotional well-being of young children and a long-term effect on their mental health at a later stage of development. Violence in young people is an important public health issue that requires a holistic preventive approach with intervention programs not only targeting children and young people, but all levels of the community including the family, the school system, the legal and medical systems, and also the government.

The aim of this Research Topic is to unite researchers around the world to share their wisdom and recent discoveries in the field. The content of the Research Topic is confined to the issues of violence among young people from 0 to 18 years, both as victims or perpetrators. In terms of the form of violence, we adopt the WHO definition presenting a wider perspective of violent intent and violent behaviors. These include, but are not limited to: physical and non-physical abuse, intentional injuries, sexual abuse and assault, physical and non-physical bullying, cyber-bullying, and aggressive behavior exhibited among young children. In terms of the context of violence, it could be at school, home, workplace, in the community, or elsewhere.

Given the complexity of the topic presented as a public health problem, the preventive mechanism and intervention activities would require an interdisciplinary or even transdisciplinary approach. We welcome contributions from researchers and scholars from all disciplines including medical and health backgrounds, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and other sciences and humanities. Of specific interest are evidence-based preventive measures and intervention programs that could be potentially applied in different demographic, socioeconomic, and geographic populations.


Keywords: Violence, Risk Factors, intervention, prevention, child and adolescent


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 May 2020 Abstract
30 November 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 May 2020 Abstract
30 November 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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