HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The City of Hartford will be implementing a Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program (HVIP) to break the cycle of violence.
The program is a partnership between Connecticut Children’s, Trinity Health of New England, Hartford Hospital, and local community-based organizations Hartford Communities That Care (HCTC), Mothers United Against Violence (MUAV), and Compass Youth Collaborative (COMPASS).
The HVIP uses a trauma-informed approach to care, identifying patients who are at risk of repeat injury and linking them to hospital and community-based resources that address underlying factors and causes of violence.
“What’s unprecedented about this is bringing everyone together, working in partnership, working in a common model,” Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said.
With this program, partner hospitals will assign staff members trained in violence intervention and prevention to engage with victims of violence while they recover.
Jaquelyn Santiago-Nazario leads COMPASS. She has learned consistency is key from working with youth for more than 20 years.
“We know that we have to prove to them that we care,” she said. “I think there are not very many people that willingly want to work with this population.”
Through COMPASS, youth impacted by violence enroll in a four-year mentorship program. The mentors are called Peacebuilders.
“They have lived experience in the community, and they are reaching out to these kids no matter where they are,” Santiago-Nazario said. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s a hotspot, it doesn’t matter whether it’s intervening in a violent incident, whether there are guns or knives. The Peacebuilders have been there in the community to interrupt those incidences.”
The program is supported by $2 million of American Rescue Plan funding. Bronin hopes the program can break the cycle of violence in the city.
“One of the tragic things that we see is that many of those who are involved in gun violence have been past victims of gun violence themselves,” he said. “It’s really important to use this opportunity beginning in the hospital to make sure we’re not just treating those physical wounds but addressing some of the underlying issues.”
City leaders said the program will begin this summer.