About the Initiative

Protecting Indiana’s youth is a priority of the Office of the Indiana Attorney General. Our office teams with organizations that work in different capacities to keep future generations safe, healthy and informed.

The Indiana Attorney General’s Office is extending its commitment to protect youth beyond its involvement in youth organizations by developing and executing an educational outreach initiative focused on youth safety. We are committed to delivering educational material to help prevent unhealthy behaviors among our youth to improve the quality of life for their peers, their communities and themselves.

The Office of the Attorney General is working with key non-profit entities that serve as experts in the areas of internet safety, teen suicide, teen dating violence and underage drinking and driving. The entities include Century Council, Netsmartz, the Jason Foundation, the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and the National Center for Disease Control. The office serves as a liaison between the public and its partners.

Situational Analysis

The staggering statistics in all four areas support the need to raise awareness of these issues and put resources in place to help with prevention efforts.

1. Internet Crimes

  • Unwanted sexual solicitations continue to decline: from 19% in 2000 to 13% in 2005 and 9% in 2010. We saw an increase in online harassment however – from 6% in 2000 to 9% in 2005 and 11% in 2010 (CACRC).  
  • In 2010 approximately 1 in 9 youth internet users (11%) received an online harassment in the past year.  This continues an increase from 6% in 2000 to 9% in 2005. Overall, reports of online harassment increased 83% over the past decade (CACRC). 

2. Teen Dating Violence

  • Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year (CDC).   
  •  One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner (The National Council on Crime and Delinquency Focus).
  • One in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report).
  • One quarter of high school girls have been victims of physical or sexual abuse (The Commonwealth Fund Survey for the Health of Adolescent Girls).

3. Teen Suicide

  • Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-24 (2010 CDC WISQARS).
  • Suicide is the THIRD leading cause of death for college-age youth and ages 12-18 (2010 CDC WISQARS).
  • More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED (CDC).
  •  Each day in our nation there are an average of over 5,400 attempts by young people grades 7-12 (CDC).

4. Underage Drinking & Driving

  • Drivers under the age of 21 represent 10 percent of licensed drivers but are responsible for 17 percent of fatal alcohol-related crashes in the U.S. (NHTSA).
  • Teenage drunk driving is the cause of one quarter of all motor vehicle accidents (NHTSA).
  • One teen is killed in the United States every 60 minutes because of teen drunk driving (NHTSA).

5. Tobacco

  • A total of 41.1% of high school students (grades 9-12) have never tried a cigarette and 15.7% and currently use cigarettes (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014)
  •  Current tobacco use among high school students is 22.4%, which includes cigarette, cigar and smokeless tobacco use (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014).
  • Almost 90% of adult smokers start smoking by 18 years of age and 99% start by the age of 26 (U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014).