“We articulated a vision, we wanted a trauma recovery center in every city, to create a web to keep people from falling through the cracks.”
Robert Rooks, Vice President, Alliance for Safety and Justice
The first trauma recovery center was developed as a pilot program at the University of California, San Francisco at San Francisco General Hospital in 2001. Now, trauma recovery centers are spreading across the country. This breakthrough and evidence-based model is helping the hardest-to-reach survivors of violent crime heal and recover from the effects of trauma.
Services offered by trauma recovery centers include trauma-informed clinical case management; evidence-based individual, group and family psychotherapy; crisis intervention; medication management; legal advocacy and assistance in filing police reports and accessing victim compensation funds; and are offered at no cost to the patient. These types of comprehensive services and assistance are intended to help people who have experienced violent crime, including patients who suffered gunshot wounds, as well as victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, human trafficking, and hate crimes, and those who had a family member assaulted or killed. To provide this breadth of services, trauma recovery centers utilize multidisciplinary staff members that might include psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and outreach workers.
Trauma recovery centers may be eligible for funding through federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) dollars, and can be implemented by VOCA administrators and/or through legislation. They can be housed by community-based organizations, universities, hospitals and/or other clinical service providers, and collaborations among these agencies can help to ensure integrated and client-centered care when establishing trauma recovery centers.
Those Most Harmed are Least Helped
One in four Americans reports having been a victim of crime in the past 10 years, and half of those were victims of a violent crime. Most report receiving no help in the aftermath. Low-income communities and communities of color experience concentrated cycles of crime without sufficient access to prevention, treatment or rehabilitation. Young people of color are among the most likely to be victimized and the least likely to receive support in recovering. When left untreated, trauma can contribute to long-term health risks, substance abuse, financial and housing instability, loss of employment and other challenges that increase the risk of being victimized again.
We need to think differently about how we support survivors of crime from underserved communities. These communities need systems and structures in place to help people heal from the long-lasting impacts of trauma and prevent repeat victimization. This is what trauma recovery centers are all about.
Replicating the Trauma Recovery Center Model Across the Country Through Advocacy
Alliance for Safety and Justice and its sister organization, Californians for Safety and Justice, have advocated for the expansion of trauma recovery centers throughout California and other states across the country. There are now over 15 trauma recovery centers in California, Ohio, and Michigan, with more on the way.
For more on Alliance for Safety and Justice, visit www.allianceforsafetyandjustice.org
For more on Californians for Safety and Justice, visit www.safeandjust.org