CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) Helping With Violence Prevention
The following is a story from CHOP’s website (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia), who recently came to the aid of a young girl brutally bullied and beaten. The hard work and initiatives exemplified by their organization is outstanding.
Way to go guys!
A few months into sixth grade, Chedaya got a brand-new pair of sneakers. She loved them. But so did a girl in her class, who suddenly started bullying her about them.
Chedaya had never been in a fight. But when the girl challenged her over the shoes, she felt pressured to stand up for herself.
“I was scared, but I didn’t want to look scared,” Chedaya says.
She met the girl in a park near school, where she was punched in the face, stomach and legs, and her braids were pulled out. Another student filmed the fight and shared it with classmates.
Her mom arrived to find Chedaya physically and emotionally shaken.
“You send your kids out one way, no telling how they’re going to return back home,” says her mom, Catina, who was also deeply upset by the incident. “She had a lot of head and scalp injuries, because when they pulled the braids out, they pulled chunks of hair away from the root. They banged her head on the ground as they pulled the braids out.”
Catina took Chedaya to the CHOP Emergency Department (ED), just a short drive away. In many other emergency rooms, Chedaya likely would have been treated for her physical wounds and sent on her way. But in CHOP’s ED, while a medical team cared for her physical symptoms, a social worker also tended to her emotional ones, connecting the family with CHOP’s Violence Prevention Initiative (VPI).
Breaking the cycle
Aggressive behavior is a common issue facing today’s youth, involving almost one-third of adolescents. VPI’s program for assault-injured youth capitalizes on the teachable moment for youth ages 8 through 18 who seek medical care in the ED after a violent event, in an effort to reduce re-injury and retaliation. It’s just one aspect of VPI, a Hospital-wide effort to interrupt the cycle of youth violence, which also includes programs in schools and the community. With a multidisciplinary team made up of some of the nation’s foremost experts in violence intervention, anti-bullying methods and trauma-informed care, CHOP is uniquely positioned to take on this issue and is fast becoming a national model for hospital-led youth violence prevention.
For its part, the ED-based program provides emotional and social support for youth and their families through intensive case management services, helping youth exposed to violence deal with their emotions and reactions to difficult social situations, and increasing self-esteem and leadership skills. By applying a trauma-informed approach, previous traumatic experiences families bring with them to this recovery process are considered, which can impact how they respond to supportive efforts.
“Violence is cyclical,” says CHOP Violence Prevention Supervisor, Laura Vega, MSW, LSW. “It is our goal to interrupt that cycle so that healing can begin.”
To read the rest of the article, go to the website of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.