Cease Violence Wilmington presents at behavioral health forum
Delaware’s Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families held their annual Prevention and Behavioral Health forum on April 13.
One workshop focused on Cease Violence Wilmington - a violence prevention program in four high-risk Wilmington areas: Hilltop, West Center City, Eastside and Northeast. The city and Christiana Care Health System, rolled out the initiative last spring - seeking to intervene with young adults considered likely to be involved violent crime.
Daryl Chambers, a researcher at University of Delaware’s Center for Drug and Health studies, has been involved in an effort to analyze data containing 20 years of shooting incidents.
“One of the things [the data] suggests is that a lot of the shootings happening on Sundays," Chambers said. "When you look at it thoroughly, it says they’re happening around 12 o’clock on Saturday night. So it really allowed us to have a more targeted approach to address this violence issue.”
Chaz Molins, a social worker and a violence intervention and prevention coordinator atChristiana Care Health System, has seen more victims of violence than most people could bear. He said the moment a young victim wakes up in the hospital is the best time to intervene and work to steer them in a different direction.
"When someone has tubes down their throat and they’ve had surgeries and rehabilitation in the hospital, and they’re surrounded by loved ones, and we talk to them about opportunities that may not know about, like maybe getting a GED or job training," said Molins.
Children who grow up around violence, he added, are at risk of getting civilian post-traumatic stress disorder. Having to grapple with trauma makes them likely to commit acts of violence in the future. At Christiana Care, Molins educates children on violence by showing them a side to these events they rarely see - what victims of shootings look like in the hospital’s trauma unit. \
"They play their violent video games and they watch Walking Dead on TV, where people’s heads get cracked open with axe," said Molins. "And it’s different when you’re seeing it in a medical setting."
This year, nine homicides have taken place in Wilmington. In 2014, there were 23 on record. Cease Violence Wilmington will hold public events this summer to build on its efforts to date.
Other workshops being presented at the forum covered topics from substance abuse to transgender health.