New program for crime victims aims to break cycle of violence

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Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton is partnering with Capital Health to help victims of violence in Mercer County achieve long-term recovery and stability in a new program called Violence Intervention for the Community Through Outreach Recovery (VICTORY).

The hospital-based intervention program aims to break the cycle of violence by connecting victims to support services to meet all their needs and reduce the likelihood of revictimization.

Capital Health will refer victims of violent crime who are ages 18 to 45 to Catholic Charities for services. Program Coordinator Scott Minchello (pictured, right) will assess their needs and connect them to help, including housing and food assistance, mental health counseling, job training, educational services, addiction treatment, court support, transportation and more.

“Often it’s not just the physical results of violence that can keep a person from fully recovering. This program recognizes that maybe you started drinking because of trauma, maybe this trauma affected your child, maybe you need to move because you’re no longer safe where you are,” said Caryn Hirsch, director of Catholic Charities’ Children & Family Services-Mercer and Burlington.

“This program will identify community-based resources for victims of violence and connect them with care, for whatever they need,” Hirsch added. “This will ensure the long-term recovery of the victim, and ultimately strengthen the community.”

Minchello agreed: “We hope this will make a big impact on reducing violence in the community.”

A statewide initiative

The program is part of a $20 million statewide initiative announced in January by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Capital Health was one of nine hospitals funded statewide under the initiative.

Murphy said the initiative will reduce gun violence “by enhancing the tools at the disposal of public health facilities and victim service providers. With the implementation of hospital-based violence intervention programs, our state is better equipped to support victims and offer best practices to the community organizations working to prevent additional violence from occurring.” 

Grewal agreed: “The violence intervention programs receiving millions of dollars unite hospitals and community organizations all across the state to help break cycles of victimization and violence. As New Jersey’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer, I am proud to work with these groups to holistically tackle the ongoing gun violence epidemic and better serve our communities, not just today but every day.” 

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For more information, contact Violence Intervention for the Community Through Outreach Recovery (VICTORY) Coordinator Scott Minchello at (609) 394-5157 or Dana DiFilippo, Catholic Charities communications, at ddifilippo@cctrenton.org or (215) 756-6277 (cell).

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