TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced that the Attorney General’s Office is offering $6 million in federal Victims of Crime Act (“VOCA”) funding to qualified applicants to establish up to four Trauma Recovery Centers, which will provide comprehensive mental health and support services to heal and assist crime victims in vulnerable, underserved populations that have historically been difficult to reach.
Each applicant seeking to establish one of the four demonstration sites for the New Jersey Trauma Recovery Center Program may apply for up to $1.5 million in VOCA funds. The grants will fund the centers for 16 months from Jan. 1, 2020 through April 30, 2021. Each Trauma Recovery Center (“TRC”) must use the proven University of California San Francisco Trauma Recovery Center model. The Attorney General’s Office has secured the services of the founder of that model, Dr. Alicia Boccellari, Ph.D., Director of Special Programs at the UC San Francisco Trauma Recovery Center, to provide training and technical assistance to all selected grantees.
The TRC model recognizes that many crime victims do not receive the comprehensive post-trauma treatment and mental health services needed to heal their emotional and physical wounds, particularly if they are members of vulnerable populations, such as the homeless, the chronically mentally ill, the disabled, LGBTQ people, people of color, members of immigrant and refugee groups, those living in poverty, and juvenile victims, including those who have had contact with the juvenile dependency or juvenile justice system.
“Trauma Recovery Centers are a crucial component of supporting victims of crime,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “Establishing these centers in New Jersey will help victims heal emotional and mental wounds that last far beyond any of the physical impacts of violence. This proven and tested model will be integral to our efforts in helping those that are underserved.”
“Victims of violence suffer devastating physical and emotional wounds, and far too many go without the treatment and support they need to heal because of cultural, economic, and personal barriers,” said Attorney General Grewal. “The costs to victims and society of this untreated trauma are tremendous, in terms of risk of re-victimization, mental health issues, medical costs, and loss of wages and stable housing. With the New Jersey Trauma Recovery Center Program, we are implementing a model that has a proven track record of helping the most vulnerable victims to heal and gain control of their lives. Through this program, we will reduce cycles of violence and promote public safety.”
“There’s a wise saying that hurt people hurt people, and healed people heal people,” said Elizabeth E. Ruebman, who was appointed by the Attorney General to review and strengthen victims services statewide. “This program is an investment in healing and hope. Our goal with these Trauma Recovery Centers is to use VOCA funds to address the lack of affordable, culturally appropriate clinical and healing services in those communities that are most harmed by violence.”
Eligible TRC grant applicants must provide a staff of clinicians, including a clinical director, at least one social worker, at least one licensed psychologist, and at least one licensed psychiatrist on staff or contracted. These multidisciplinary teams will engage in aggressive outreach to offer victims comprehensive services, with case management coordinated through a single point of contact. Applicants may include a combination of public agencies, nonprofits, community and faith-based organizations, and qualified public or nonprofit colleges or universities. The Trauma Recovery Center model emphasizes an attitude of “cultural humility” on the part of TRC staff and an awareness that a victim’s culture and identity may affect his or her views on being a victim and receiving mental health treatment.
All grantees will use the UC San Francisco Trauma Recovery Center Manual, which outlines the following Core Elements of the TRC, among others:
- Assertive Outreach and Engagement with Underserved Populations. TRCs conduct outreach and provide services to survivors of violent crime who typically are unable to access traditional services, including the vulnerable populations listed above.
- Serving Survivors of All Types of Violent Crime. TRCs serve survivors of a range of violent crimes, including sexual assault; domestic violence; battery; crimes of violence (shootings, gang violence, and other forms of community violence); vehicular assault; and human trafficking. They also serve family members of homicide victims.
- Comprehensive Mental Health and Support Services. TRCs provide a variety of structured and evidence-based mental health and support services, including but not limited to crisis intervention, individual and group treatment, medication management, substance abuse treatment, and case management.
- Multidisciplinary Team of Clinicians.
- Clinical Case Management. Assertive case management includes, among other things, accompanying clients to court proceedings and medical appointments; assistance in filing of applications to the Victims of Crime Compensation Board; filing of police reports; assistance with obtaining safe housing and financial entitlements; linkages to medical care; providing assistance securing employment; and acting as liaison to other community agencies, law enforcement, and support service providers.
- Use of Trauma-Informed, Evidence-Based Practices. Approved practices include but are not limited to Motivational Interviewing, Seeking Safety, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Cognitive Processing Therapy.
The Notice of Available Funds for the New Jersey Trauma Recovery Center Program is posted on the Attorney General’s website at this link:
The TRCs that will be established under the New Jersey Trauma Recovery Center Program will complement Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Programs, Family Justice Centers, and other victim services programs already established or being launched in New Jersey.
In September, Attorney General Grewal announced $20 million in VOCA funding to establish nine new hospital-based or hospital linked violence intervention programs across New Jersey. 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. The New Jersey Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program (NJHVIP) will serve to link hospitals and other medical facilities with community-based organizations that are working to assist victims and reduce violence.
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