Violence Intervention Advocacy Program
Violence can be devastating and cyclical—some often respond with violence and others bury their pain in the absence of resources to help with proper coping. At Boston Medical Center, providers recognize this chain of events and take an active stance to intervene through an initiative changing countless lives—the Violence Intervention Advocacy Program (VIAP). VIAP was established in 2006 by Thea James, MD, to break the cycle of violence by using a trauma-informed model of care to guide victims through recovery from physical and emotional trauma. VIAP begins in the Emergency Department where providers identify patients who have become victims of community violence. Two advocates reach out to the identified patients and assist them their families with everything from addressing medical insurance issues to creating a safety plan as the victim returns to his or her neighborhood.
VIAP's mission is to assist victims of violence in recovering from physical and emotional trauma and empower them with the skills, services and opportunities to return to their communities; make positive changes in their lives; strengthen others who have been affected by violence; and contribute to building better communities. VIAP presents options for families that bring hope and healing to their lives. In turn, this guidance helps strengthen others who are affected by violence and contributes to building safer and healthier communities. To date, the program has served more than 4,105 victims of violence and has become a national model for programs handling urban, community violence.