Hartford Launches Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program

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The city of Hartford is launching a new initiative bringing together hospitals and community groups to help break the cycle of violence.

“This is an unprecedented collaboration,” said Mayor Luke Bronin, D – Hartford.

Bronin said a Hospital-Based intervention program will bring together Trinity Health, Hartford Hospital and Connecticut Children’s, along with several community groups including Hartford Communities That Care.

The city is using $2 million from American Rescue Plan money to get the initiative off the ground after some challenging years.

“You've seen gun violence increase in city after city around the country. And we are battling that on many, many fronts,” Bronin said.

The mayor said one out of five people accused of shooting someone else has been a victim a violence themselves.

Bronin said the idea is for intervention specialists in the hospitals to figure out which victims of violence are at risk of going through another traumatic experience, and then connect the patient with groups and figure out solutions to underlying issues.

That includes providing services, mentoring and home visits.

“We love hearing how this has impacted their lives in positive ways. And we hear those stories all the time, whether it's from the victim or the family,” said Andrew Woods, Hartford Communities That Care executive director.

Right now, after violence in a Hartford neighborhood, there’s often a call to Woods.

“If there's a gunshot victim that arrives at St. Francis or en route, then my phone rings,” Woods said.

Woods and staff from his organization – Hartford Communities That Care – teamed up with the hospital to start the state’s first Hospital Violence Intervention Program in 2004.

Since then, they’ve helped about 1,900 victims and families of gun violence with immediate and longer-term needs.

“If you're able to connect people with those services, they're most likely not to be re-victimized again, they're less likely to retaliate against someone if that was on their mind,” Woods said.

The city hopes this investment will help build a model that can be sustained into the future.

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