Youth Violence Prevention

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FEATURED REPORTHow Gun Violence Affects Youth in Denver

What is Youth Violence?

Youth violence is when young people aged 10-24 intentionally use physical force or power to harm others. It includes bullying, dating violence, fights, gang violence, homicide, human trafficking and exploitation, self-directed violence (self-abuse and suicide), sexual violence and threats.

Violence is a Health Issue

Violence impacts communities across Denver and contributes to many negative health outcomes. Youth can be perpetrators, victims or witnesses of violence. Regardless of their role, they experience negative consequences. Because youth who experience violence are less able to contribute to their communities and are at heightened risk for experiencing violence again in the future, violence experienced and perpetrated by young people is an important public health issue.

Violence can be prevented and many communities around the country have reduced violence using public health approaches.

Our Work

We aim to reduce youth violence in Denver by using a public health approach with local efforts, improving collaboration among agencies addressing violence-related issues, and creating a road map for coordinated, strategic youth violence prevention efforts.

Mile High Youth Thrive 

Since August 2015, Denver Public Health has facilitated Mile High Youth Thrive, cross-sector coalition made up of partners at city and state agencies, community organizations, universities and healthcare providers. This effort is unique in bringing a public health approach to youth violence prevention that focuses on the shared risk and protective factors that cut across all forms of youth violence.

We aim to:

  • Facilitate an ongoing cross-sector, systematic approach to youth violence prevention that promotes trust and transparency (both among partners and with community members);
  • Encourage the development of a comprehensive, coordinated strategic plan to prevent youth violence in Denver, as recommended by the CDC, Prevention Institute, Cities United and the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention; and
  • Secure dedicated youth violence prevention resources, improved collaboration and integration among youth-serving agencies and better outcomes for Denver youth.

Our Partnerships

We collaborate with Denver Public Health’s Suicide and Violence Prevention efforts and Denver Health’s hospital-based violence intervention program, AIM.

We participate in the Cities United Roadmap Academy and Prevention Institute’s UNITY City Network and from 2015-2018 participated in the American Institutes for Research’s YVP Training and Technical Assistance program.

Get Involved

Join the Mile High Youth Thrive email list to receive updates about coalition meetings and events.

Questions?  Contact Youth Health Manager Maritza Valenzuela by email or 303-602-3678.


For immediate assistance, call:

Denver Health emergency mental health services:  (303) 602-7221

Colorado Crisis Services:  1-800-493-TALK

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  1-800-273-8255


More Information

Movement Towards Violence as a Health Issue

Connecting the Dots: Online Training and more from the CDC

Connecting the Dots: An Overview of the Links Among Multiple Forms of Violence. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Oakland, CA: Prevention Institute.

2017 Denver Youth Health Assessment