Bridging the Gap — A Youth Violence Reduction Program
Richmond has a high rate of violence and intentional injury among youth. The homicide firearm fatality rate for youths under the age of 25 in Richmond, Virginia significantly exceeds both state and national rates.
The most recent rates for youths (ages 0-24) per 100,000 persons, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Virginia Department of Health (2005), are as follows:
• U.S.__4.60 (n 4,729)
• Virginia__5.71 (n 145)
• Richmond__42.26 (n 29)
A significant number of youth hospitalized for an intentional injury continue on a trajectory that places them at risk for re-victimization or re-injury. Previous studies have estimated the five-year re-injury rate for victims of intentional injuries to be 44 percent while an additional 20 percent are estimated to die as a result of subsequent violence.
Bridging the Gap seeks to reduce the rate of re-injury and the subsequent health care demands and costs associated with violent injuries by providing youth and their families with services needed to break the cycle of violence. While inpatient, youths receive a brief hospital-based intervention which provides an opportunity to review the incident, review conflict-resolution strategies, increase the patient’s awareness of risk factors for recidivism, explore coping skills, develop a safety plan, and connect with community agencies that provide services to patients and their families.
In addition to supporting and facilitating appropriate follow up health care post-discharge, Bridging the Gap has assisted youths and their families to find housing, enroll in educational and vocational programs, and access mental health services. Each family receives intensive case management for six months in order to offer them the support needed to break the cycle of violence. Currently over 50 youths have participated in this program.
For more information:
Julie Bivins, MSW
Bridging the Gap Program Coordinator