Clients of BMC’s violence interventional advocacy program find experience supportive

Published on medicalxpress.com/ July 22, 2014

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC) have found that participants who received care through BMC’s Violence Intervention Advocacy Program (VIAP)—an interventional program targeting the physical, mental, emotional and social needs of violently injured youths—were less likely to retaliate for their injuries and experienced life changing behaviors through connections to caring, steady, supportive adults who helped them feel trust and hope. These findings are reported in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine

Violence, particularly among persons younger than 24 years of age, is on the rise in the U.S. and is a public health problem. In 2011, emergency departments treated 707,212 patients aged 12-24 for violent injuries, compared to 668,133 in 2007. Most urban violence occurs in poor communities and young, African-American males are disproportionately affected. Up to 40 percent of injured African American youth who are less than 24 years old and hospitalized sustain subsequent injuries. One half of which return as victims of homicide.

In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 VIAP clients who were mostly male, African American and younger than 30, reflecting the typical VIAP clientele. Education level ranged from having some high school or GED to having some higher education. Most reported they had not suffered a prior violent injury before enrolling in VIAP. The interview consisted of open-ended questions structured around the following areas: life pre- and post-injury, hospital experience, VIAP experience, retaliation, and general questions relating to family/friend dynamics, accomplishments in life and goals. All interviews were coded, analyzed and the findings were organized into three main domains: challenges to physical and emotional healing, client experience with VIAP and effectiveness of VIAP.

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