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Carrying weapons and intent to harm among Victorian secondary school students in 1999 and 2009

Youth violence (for example, carrying a weapon or attacking someone with intent to harm) is one of the most important social and public health problems worldwide.13 The costs of youth violence stem from harm caused to victims, as well as policing and criminal justice responses and community perceptions of reduced safety.3,4 Violence was listed in the top three issues concerning young Australians in 2010.5 Eight per cent of Victorian students in Years 7 and 9 engaged in violent behaviour in 2002, with higher rates among boys than girls.6 In addition, rates of youth violence are higher in disadvantaged communities7 and in regional communities with unstable populations and economic structures as well as high unemployment,8 and lower among youths from immigrant families.9

There have been reports of increases in violent offences perpetrated by youth in Australia10