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There is not one profile for adolescents who are violent in the family. They come from a variety of backgrounds, family histories and personal challenges. Some teens have mental health issues, substance addiction, learning disabilities or emotional and/or behavioral problems since they were young. Some youth seem to be well functioning and healthy in most areas of their life with no identifiable reason for violent behavior. There is not one reason why a youth is violent; it is usually a combination of risk factors that have contributed to the behavior.

Many youth who attend Step-Up have been exposed to domestic violence in their home, most commonly an abusive father who is no longer in the home. Some teens have experienced abuse toward them by a previous parent or caretaker (not the parent or caretaker they are currently living with or violent toward.)  When youth have experienced violence in the past, it is important to help them address their own violent behavior in order have healthy relationships and stop the cycle of family violence.

(Important Note: We are not referring to teens that are responding to violence toward them by a parent or caregiver. This would be a child abuse case to be referred to Children’s Protective Services.)