Center for Violence Prevention

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The Center for Violence Prevention (CVP) at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia applies a research-to-action-to-impact approach to address the exposure to and impact of violence in the lives of children, teens, and families. CVP programs are guided by trauma-informed practices, principles of social justice and equity, and community-based participatory research. As part of a pediatric health care organization, CVP operates in clinical, school, and neighborhood settings.

In addition, CVP delivers high quality, cross-disciplinary trainings on trauma-informed care to teach providers about the importance of recognizing how prior stress plays a role in a person’s current health and behavior, and how to respond accordingly. The goal is for CHOP to be a national leader in providing trauma-informed pediatric care in every patient and family encounter. CVP is also the home of the Stress-Less Initiative, a group model that helps front-line program staff and trainees maintain their own health while they provide trauma-informed care to violently injured youth and their families.

CVP is affiliated with the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP), a Center of Emphasis within the CHOP Research Institute. CVP’s multidisciplinary team comprises researchers, clinicians, and specialized staff who understand the causes and impact of different types of violence on children and families. The team uses its collective expertise to help shape policy, engage community partners, and create, implement, and study evidence-based interventions. The Center has become a national and global model for hospital-based and community-delivered violence prevention.

Research Project Highlights

Staff involved with the Center for Violence Prevention are engaged in many efforts, including:

  • Violence Intervention Program (VIP):
    VIP provides post-discharge community- and family-focused case management to 8 to 18-year-old patients treated at CHOP for an injury due to interpersonal violence. Services address mental health and other needs (e.g., medical, education, legal, housing) to promote safety and recovery, and prevent future violent events. VIP also provides group therapy for youth to build resilience after a traumatic event (BRAVE), and organizational and peer support for frontline staff to prevent secondary traumatic stress (Stress-Less Initiative).
  • STOP IPV:
    Jointly supported by CHOP and Lutheran Settlement House, STOP IPV addresses intimate partner violence (IPV) and teen dating violence, and considers the impact of child abuse and community violence on individuals and families. STOP IPV supports screening by pediatric healthcare providers to identify families experiencing IPV and provides on-site support and safety planning to minimize adverse effects of childhood IPV exposure. Through training, education, and raising awareness, STOP IPV strengthens CHOP’s trauma-informed response to IPV.
  • Friend to Friend (F2F):
    F2F addresses relational aggression (manipulating social relationships through gossip and social exclusion) among third grade through fifth grade minority girls in urban schools. The school-based program includes a small-group intervention with accompanying classroom lessons wherein relationally aggressive girls learn strategies for problem-solving, anger management, and prosocial leadership. F2F targets unstructured school settings (e.g., playground, lunchroom) where aggression most frequently occurs.
  • Preventing Aggression in Schools Everyday (PRAISE):
    PRAISE is a universal adaptation of the CHOP-developed Friend to Friend program which specifically targets relationally aggressive girls. For both boys and girls in third grade through fifth grade, PRAISE is a classroom-based program that teaches problem-solving strategies, empathy, perspective-taking, and strategies for being a positive bystander. PRAISE is designed to prevent and reduce multiple forms of aggression and bullying (e.g., physical, relational/social, cyber) and support a productive and positive classroom teaching environment.
  • Gun Lock Distribution Program at CHOP
    Experts at CHOP have implemented a program in the CHOP Emergency Department that enables healthcare providers to have nonjudgmental conversations with families about guns in the home and offer educational resources and gun safety devices at no cost. If families opt to take a device, there are phone follow-ups to learn if and how they are using it and to identify facilitators and barriers to use. All participants are also asked to give feedback on both the education received and thoughts on this intervention being offered in the pediatric ED.
  • Communicating & Connecting Mental Health Needs of Patients
    Funded by a CHOP Department of Pediatrics Chair’s Initiative, this project seeks to improve CHOP patients’ access to mental health services by identifying and addressing care coordination needs for mental health referrals. CHOP experts are assessing the current state of mental health referral patterns, developing recommendations on appropriate practices for referrals, and using quality improvement methods to conduct a gap analysis for what is needed to move from current practice to ideal practice.
  • Behavioral Health Screen
    CHOP utilizes a behavioral health screen in the Emergency Department (ED) to aid in identifying and providing appropriate care to patients ages 14 to 19 with mental health and social concerns. The behavioral health screen is a 7-10-minute, electronic survey that covers domains of depression, suicidal ideation, emotional trauma, firearm access, and substance abuse. Following the screening, patients are connected with resources and consultations as appropriate.