This is a past program. Information is provided for archival purposes only.

Welcome to the Youth Initiative

The Youth Initiative builds the nation's capacity to support youth victims while working to advance their rights and ensuring youth leadership on issues that affect youth.

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Youth Outreach for Victim Assistance


About YOVA

The Youth Outreach Victim Assistance (YOVA) project was a youth leadership program with the primary goal of educating teens on the dynamics of victimization and providing information on where they can turn for help and support. Thirty-two youth-adult teams around the nation accomplished this goal by creating unique outreach events, materials, and advertising to reach teen crime victims in their local communities.

Why Youth?

  • Two out of three teens say they want to help make things better in their schools and communities, but 60% report they have never been asked!
  • Teens are twice as likely as any other age group to be targeted as victims of violent crime.
  • 70% of high school students surveyed say that they would report a serious problem to a person of their own age first.


  • The National Partners are the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) and the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC)
  • Funding is provided through a cooperative agreement with the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, and the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • Youth and adults from local school and community organizations partnered to form a YOVA site and work together on outreach campaigns.
  • The National Partners supported YOVA sites through workshops, resources, and site visits. Regular conference calls and nationwide trainings kept the sites connected, so each could benefit from the other's experiences.

Assisting Victims

  • Teens are victimized by crime at alarmingly high rates, yet many teens do not report these incidents nor seek support.
  • YOVA outreach campaigns were designed by teens to break down some of the barriers facing young victims.
  • Training from the National Center, a Guide book, and input from the youth give victim service providers insight into making help more teen-friendly.
  • Local victim service providers taught YOVA sites about the rights of teen victims, counseling, advocacy, and other services available to them.

What's Next?

  • A selection of YOVA site now serve as mentor to sites with the goal of expanding their campaigns or addressing a new area of victimization.
  • Lessons learned from YOVA were published to serve as a guide for communities that wish to implement similar campaigns.

See a listing of YOVA project sites:

This project was supported by Grant No. 2003-VF-GX-K015 awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.