Jersey City Medical Center (JCMC) is one of nine hospitals that will receive grant funding for a hospital-based violence intervention program, which aims to help victims of violence by providing services at the time of medical treatment.
Gov. Phil Murphy, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, and former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords made the announcement at the Mary Bethune Center in Jersey City just a four-minute walk from the JC Kosher Supermarket where two shooters killed four people last December.
“The resilience of Jersey City in the wake of the recent attack embodies the strength of New Jersey,” said Giffords. “The state has always met tragedy with action, and never stopped pushing forward in addressing the gun violence crisis ….Providing communities the resources to fight this epidemic is a necessary leap in the right direction.”
In 2011, Giffords was shot in the head outside a Safeway in Casas Adobe, Ariz. She survived the attack and became an advocate for gun control.
Stopping the cycle
Hospital-based violence intervention programs (HVIPs) reach victims of gun violence and others touched by violence at the time of crisis and are proven to reduce repeat injury.
They combine medical treatment and recovery services education, counseling, social services, and case management to prevent future involvement in violence.
A primary goal of the New Jersey Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program (NJHVIP) is to link hospitals and other medical facilities with community-based organizations that are already working to assist victims and reduce violence.
The programs are being launched with $20 million in federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding, the largest VOCA award ever in the nation for hospital-based violence intervention programs.
Of that $20 million, which will fund the nine programs for 21 months, JCMC will receive roughly $2 million.
New Jersey is one of the first states to use VOCA funds to implement the programs, which are designed to enhance services to victims and break cycles of violence in hard-hit communities.
“The funding awarded today further reinforces our Administration’s commitment to reducing gun violence in New Jersey by enhancing the tools at the disposal of public health facilities and victim service providers,” Murphy said. “With the implementation of hospital-based violence intervention programs, our state is better equipped to support victims and offer best practices to the community organizations working to prevent additional violence from occurring.”
The awarding of VOCA funds by the AG’s Office represents the first time that New Jersey has funded HVIPs.
“This is an exciting day for New Jersey and a big victory for all the organizations and individuals who work tirelessly each day to serve victims and prevent violence,” said Attorney General Grewal. “The violence intervention programs receiving millions of dollars unite hospitals and community organizations all across the state to help break cycles of victimization and violence. As New Jersey’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer, I am proud to work with these groups to holistically tackle the ongoing gun violence epidemic and better serve our communities, not just today but every day.”
Pursuant to a competitive application process, JCMC was selected to serve Hudson County. The Center for Family Services will serve Camden County. Trinitas Health Foundation will serve Union County. AtlantiCare will serve Atlantic County. Capital Health will serve Mercer County. RWJ University Hospital will serve Middlesex, Somerset, and Union Counties. University Hospital will serve Essex County. Jersey Shore University Medical Center/Hackensack Meridian will serve Monmouth County, and St. Joseph’s Health will serve Passaic County.
The governor, attorney general, and congresswoman also announced the selection of The Health Alliance for Violence Intervention (HAVI) as the training and technical assistance provider for the NJHVIP.
HAVI has experience in providing training, technical assistance, and support for HVIPs across the United States.
HAVI will receive a VOCA grant to support all nine of the programs in New Jersey to ensure that they have the tools they need to follow national best practices.
“The Health Alliance for Violence Intervention applauds the State of New Jersey for taking this monumental step to support health-based violence intervention strategies,” said Executive Director of The Health Alliance for Violence Intervention Fatimah Loren Muhammad. “The HAVI is honored to serve as lead technical assistance provider to expand hospital-based violence intervention programs across New Jersey, developing much-needed support services for victims of violence, and ultimately helping to interrupt the vicious cycle of violence in communities throughout the state.”
Last year, legislation approved by Murphy and the legislature mandated such programs at trauma centers in New Jersey as well as additional types of support from the Department of Health and Victims of Crime Compensation Office.