Child Witness to Violence Project

Ten percent of Boston Medical Center's pediatric patients have witnessed traumatic violence by the age of six, half of which had been experienced in their own homes. BMC pediatricians report about 500 cases of child abuse and neglect each year, more than any other hospital in Boston.

Founded in 1992, the Child Witness to Violence Project (CWVP) is at the forefront of advocacy and treatment for children suffering from exposure to violence. A national model of care, CWVP is comprised of three components to facilitate healing and ensure timely identification and response: intervention, education and prevention. Every year, more than 225 children and their families are helped by a multicultural and multilingual staff of social workers, psychologists, early childhood specialists, a consulting pediatrician and a consulting attorney. They are specially trained to provide therapy to young children, primarily from ages births to eight, who are often the unseen victims of domestic violence situations.

In addition, to enable an effective community response, the program provides outreach and education about the effects of domestic and community violence to childcare centers, schools and public agencies at the city and state level. Therapists also offer consultation and information to doctors, patients and other providers on hundreds of cases annually. "As leaders in the field, we are able to train people from many different organizations how to recognize the signs of trauma in the children they come in contact with, and get them help. It is truly impactful,” says Program Director Neena McConnico, PhD.