Office of Youth Violence Prevention
To end the epidemic of violence by using evidence-based, public health and human service models that impact underlying health, social, and economic disparities, through effective advocacy, collaboration, and programming for, and in partnership with youth, families, and citizens of Baltimore.
- We will provide a unified voice for victims and perpetrators.
- We will develop and partner with those that are sincere, committed and have an honest role in eliminating violence.
- Our programs will be responsive to risk and enhance resilency to achieve wellness and public safety.
We envision a Baltimore City where violence is unacceptable and where all of its people are given hope and opportunities to thrive; where neighborhoods are healthy and safe; where families and communities flourish.
In 2002, despite reductions in violent crime due to police initiatives, Baltimore remained one of the most dangerous cities in the country. In acknowledging homicide, the leading cause of death for African-American males aged 15-24, as preventable, and therefore a public health issue, the Baltimore City Health Department established the Office of Youth Violence Prevention (OYVP) in late October 2002.
Public Health Strategy
Healthy Baltimore 2015 is the city’s health policy agenda that articulates 10 priority areas for improving the city’s health. One of the indicators listed in Healthy Baltimore 2015 is that the Office of Youth Violence Prevention focuses on the “Promotion of Healthy Children and Adolescents,” which includes monitoring the progress being made to decrease juvenile homicides and non-fatal shootings.
Violence is a public health issue because it has an enormous impact on the health and wellness of individuals; especially youth. Recognizing youth violence as a public health issue complements the more traditional view of the problem as a criminal justice issue and incorporates the social and developmental sciences in addressing the concern.
Baltimore City Health Department and the Office of Youth Violence Prevention recognize that:
- Violence is a leading cause of injury, disability and premature death locally.
- Violence is a significant disparity, disproportionately affecting young people and people of color.
- Violence increases the risk of other poor health outcomes.
- Violence is preventable
The public health approach to youth violence prevention a) is population-based b) works to increase protective factors c) works to reduce risks and d) focuses on prevention. Most importantly, a public health approach utilizes data to inform the work. Data and surveillance are essential to the public health approach because it helps to answer key questions about program planning, implementation, and evaluation.
- We believe that violence is preventable by changing behaviors, norms and values.
- Youth have a right to healthy living inclusive of a safe neighborhood that is free of all types of violence.
- Youth should have opportunities to realize their potential.
- Every youth should have a relationship with a caring, responsible, and trusted adult.
- Youth should have access to quality services that meet their needs.
The Office of Youth Violence Prevention is dedicated to combating the epidemic of violence among our city’s young people through innovative public health programming and policy initiatives. The office houses two programs exclusively within BCHD, Safe Streets and Dating Matters, and several initiatives. We work closely with community stakeholders, state and local agencies, and public health experts on both our own programs and on citywide anti-violence initiatives.
- Baltimore City Department of Social Services
- Baltimore City Parks and Recreation
- Baltimore City Police Department
- Baltimore City Public School System
- Behaviorial Health System Baltimore (BHSB)
- Circuit Court for Baltimore City – Juvenile Division
- The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research
- The Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence
- Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice
- Mayor’s Office of Employment Development
- Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
- Maryland Department Of Juvenile Services
- Maryland Department of Human Resources
- Maryland Office of the Public Defender
- Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City
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