Boston Medical Center was recently awarded an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant. The grant, Specialized Intervention Services for Victims of Violent Crime within a Healthcare Setting, will support two full-time clinicians to build capacity for serving victims of homicides/attempted homicides and their families in the Greater Boston Area. These social workers will provide crisis intervention, advocacy, case management and short-term, trauma-focused counseling, if needed, to adults, adolescents and children.
The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) provides funding for state and community based organizations to offer free mental health counseling and a range of other specialized services for crime victims. The Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance (MOVA) is the designated administrator of VOCA funds in the state of Massachusetts. Each year, MOVA distributes more than $7 million in VOCA funds to programs across the state. The funds go to assist survivors of homicide victims, children who witness violence, and victims of child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, drunk driving, hate crimes and elder abuse.
Lisa Allee, MSW, LICSW, Division of Trauma Surgery, Injury Prevention Coordinator, who applied for the grant with Betsy Groves, MSW, LICSW, director, Child Witness to Violence Project, in liaison with the BMC Emergency Department said:
“This funding will provide much needed resources to help assist homicide bereft families as well as victims of attempted homicide and their family members. It will help fill a current void in therapeutic services for siblings and other family members who are in need of clinical intervention and support services.”
About Boston Medical Center
With the largest 24-hour Level I trauma center in New England, BMC’s Emergency Department had more than 132,000 visits last year. Previous year’s statistics reveal that the Emergency Department handled more than 30% of Boston’s emergency cases and 70% of the stab and gunshot wounds reported in the city.
BMC’S Adult and Pediatric Emergency Department (ED) serves more than 30% of Boston’s emergency room visits and 132,000 patients from diverse communities of whom 53% are Black, 18% are White, 16% are Hispanic/Latino, 2% are Asian and 11% are of other backgrounds.
The BMC Emergency Department goes beyond the procedure-based limits of the traditional “treat and street” approach to integrate public health into emergency medicine—in other words, to pay attention to the health, safety and well-being of patients.
Programs such as the Violence Intervention Advocacy Program (VIAP), which provides counseling, triage and referral services for victims of violence brought to the ED and the Child Witness to Violence Project (CWVP), which serves children who witness homicide and other violent crimes, have served as leaders in training other hospitals and providers.
Additionally, BMC has a Domestic Violence Program; child and adult trauma services within the Department of Psychiatry, and the Child Protection Team, which provides advocacy and medical services to child/adolescent victims of child abuse and sexual assault.