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Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Programs Work

Cooper, Carnell MD; Eslinger, Dawn M. MS; Stolley, Paul D. MD

The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care: September 2006 - Volume 61 - Issue 3 - p 534-540
doi: 10.1097/01.ta.0000236576.81860.8c
Original Articles

Background: Hospital-based violence prevention programs have emerged at trauma centers nationwide; however, none has been thoroughly evaluated for effectiveness. Our Violence Intervention Program (VIP) conducted a prospective randomized control study to evaluate the effectiveness of intervention for repeat victims of violence.

Method: Patients admitted between 1999 and 2001 for treatment of injuries inflicted by a violent act were identified. Repeat victims of violence on parole/probation were invited to join the study. Participants were given a history-gathering questionnaire and randomized into two groups. Cases (intervention [n = 56]) received intensive psychosocial follow-up services, family or group therapy, and assisted with substance abuse treatment. Controls (nonintervention [n = 44]) received standard medical treatment and follow-through in accordance with standard parole or probation procedures.

Results: There was no significant difference in the number of arrests in the two groups. The control group was three times more likely to be arrested for a violent crime, two times more likely to be convicted of any crime, and four times more likely to be convicted of a violent crime. The projected time of incarceration is significantly longer for the control group. Repeat violent criminal activity was significantly more evident in the control group.

Conclusion: Significant differences exist between the VIP intervention and nonintervention groups in terms of the quantity and severity of criminal activity.

From the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland (C.C., D.M.E.); and the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, University of Maryland at Baltimore School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland (D.M.E., P.D.S.).

Submitted for publication December 12, 2005.

Accepted for publication June 9, 2006.

Presented at the 64th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, September 22–24, 2005, Atlanta, Georgia.

Address for reprints: Carnell Cooper, MD, R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, 22 South Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201; email:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.