TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced that the AG’s Office is offering $20 million in federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding to qualified applicants to establish nine new hospital-based or hospital linked violence intervention programs across New Jersey and to provide training and technical assistance to the new sites.
Hospital-based violence intervention programs (HVIPs) reach victims of gun violence and others touched by violence right at the time of crisis and are proven to reduce repeat injury. They seek to leverage the trauma and its aftermath as a teachable moment, when medical treatment and recovery services can be combined with education, counseling, social services, and case management to change attitudes about guns and violence in a way that can prevent future involvement in violence. HVIPs can serve victims of many types of violence, including human trafficking.
Attorney General Grewal stated that 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 hard to assist victims and reduce violence. Successful applications for the available VOCA funds must incorporate that type of collaboration into a plan to implement an evidence-based model of violence intervention.
“Hospital-based violence intervention programs have a proven track record of reducing gun violence and strengthening ties between public health facilities and the populations they serve,” said Governor Murphy. “With today’s funding, we are taking another step to combat gun violence by tackling its root problems. I applaud my friends, Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords, for leading the charge on this critical issue in New Jersey.”
“This initiative will advance two of our top priorities—reducing gun violence and improving services to victims,” said Attorney General Grewal. “These hospital-based violence intervention programs have shown that there is more than one way to save lives at a hospital. You can save lives by healing gunshot wounds, and you can also save lives by changing lives and turning them away from violence. This $20 million in VOCA funding will not only reduce violence, it will strengthen communities by enhancing collaboration between hospitals and the community organizations on the front lines of victim services.”
“This is a major milestone for the State of New Jersey because it is the first time ever that the State has funded programs of this type, which employ a proven, victim-centered approach to reducing violence,” said Elizabeth E. Ruebman, who was appointed by the Attorney General to review and strengthen victims services statewide. “We are further advancing this groundbreaking initiative by ensuring that the medical personnel and community-based service providers who are partnering to take on this challenging work have the support they need, particularly the training and technical assistance that will ensure their programs are faithful to the research-tested model we are using.”
The $20 million in VOCA grants will fund nine separate hospital-based violence intervention programs for a period of 21 months, from January 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021, in areas struggling with violence. In addition, up to $2 million out of the $20 million in VOCA grants will be awarded to a training and technical assistance (TTA) provider with demonstrated experience in implementing these programs. The TTA provider will support all nine programs to ensure that they are properly implementing the proven model.
University Hospital in Newark currently operates the only hospital-based violence intervention program in New Jersey. The Attorney General’s initiative and funding dovetail with a package of bills recently approved by the Legislature and Governor Murphy to promote hospital-based violence intervention.
The Notice of Available Funds for the New Jersey Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program is posted on the Attorney General’s website at this link: