'A cycle that has to be broken:' Grant recipients discuss efforts to prevent, interrupt and reduce violence

NOW: ’A cycle that has to be broken:’ Grant recipients discuss efforts to prevent, interrupt and reduce violence

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Grant recipients who aim to reduce violence in Wisconsin gathered to exchange research and ideas at the Medical College of Wisconsin campus Tuesday, June 6.

The state awarded MCW $10.4 million in American Rescue Plan funds to allocate to communities and organizations to address the rise in violence stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grant recipients from southeastern Wisconsin included the cities of Kenosha and Racine and the Alma House in Milwaukee. There were a total of 10 grant recipients.

"We're funding projects across the state from extremely diverse communities who are addressing issues related to child abuse and neglect, sexual assault, prevention, domestic violence prevention, youth engagement and gun violence prevention," MCW's Director of Violence Prevention Policy and Engagement Reggie Moore told CBS 58.

Moore is a former head of Milwaukee's Office of Violence Prevention -- or OVP.

The event Tuesday featured presentations and a panel discussion on topics like gun violence, suicide and crime victim compensation. Strategies and solutions that were discussed included an improvement in how hospitals and organizations respond to what happens after people survive shootings. That includes focusing beyond just physical healing, but mental, emotional and financial health as well.

"This is a cycle that has to be broken, it's preventable," Moore said. "No one should be entering a trauma unit or a graveyard due to gun violence."

Below is a list of grant recipients and descriptions of how they aim to use the funds:

  • The Alma Center based in Milwaukee will design a statewide online and telephone intervention and prevention program called Breaking the Cycle to engage people at risk of, or who have a history of, causing harm to their intimate partner and/or family.

  • The City of Green Bay will create an Office of Violence Prevention to increase community safety using stakeholder collaboration, resource coordination, community engagement, and community violence intervention strategies to address increased gun violence.

  • The City of Kenosha will establish the Key Emerging Leaders Academy to engage youth at highest risk for experiencing or engaging in community violence by increasing access to experiences that develop talents, life skills, and mentor relationships historically absent in six central neighborhoods.

  • The City of Racine will establish a citywide Office of Violence Prevention, contract with national partners, engage local stakeholders, and develop a gun violence intervention plan with a focus on youth and developed based on community input and trends.

  • Gundersen Health System will expand its Crime Victim Services (CVS) unit to address increasingly complex needs related to sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and gender-based violence since the pandemic; adding CVS advocates; investing in partnerships; and increasing capacity for culturally responsive and equitable care in a six-county service area.

  • Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin will increase coordination to expand prevention, education, and outreach strategies to specific priority-populations to increase community safety and prevent sexual assault, gender-based violence, and child abuse.

  • The Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin will expand services that prevent and respond to sexual assault using culturally specific approaches such as “Inga-dabinawe’aag” and “Ing-azhe-ganoodaan,” and outreach through cultural settings to youth, adults, and tribal community.

  • Southeast Asian Healing Center (SEAHC) based in Madison will address increased suicide risk and gender-based violence due to the pandemic using culturally specific strategies in Southeast Asian communities including education, prevention, and therapy with the goal of increasing overall community wellbeing.

  • The University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Authority will expand their hospital-linked Violence Intervention Program; formalize a partnership with community partner, Focused Interruption; and conduct a gun violence analysis to identify strategies to address prevention, reduction, and response to gun violence.

  • The United Way of the Fox Cities’ March Forward project is a sustainable and culturally specific model to improve community wellbeing by addressing unmet mental/emotional needs and suicide risk factors in the Hmong, Black and Hispanic/Latinx communities by creating Community Health Workers, a dedicated peer support phoneline, and mental health literacy and anti-stigma education campaigns.
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