Violence is a recurrent problem

Without intervention, up to 41 percent of people injured by assault will be reinjured within five years. Up to 20 percent of patients treated for violent injury will be killed within five years. The Hospital-based Violence Intervention Program (HVIP) – which provides services to violently-injured people entering Emergency Departments with was inspired by the story of “Jason”.

In 1988, when he was only nine years old, Jason was treated in the emergency department of Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee for an “accidental” injury. Two years later, the hospital treated him again for multiple contusions and abrasions resulting from an assault. In 1992, at 13 years of age, he was treated for multiple stab wounds. Then, in early 1994, at the age of 15, the hospital treated Jason for a bullet wound to his leg. By the end of that year, he was dead—shot in the chest and killed at the age of 16. While medical staff expertly cared for his physical wounds each time, not once were his community health needs and risk factors addressed post-discharge.

A significant share (from 15% to 75%, depending on the study) of people treated for violent injury develop PTSD, depression, or substance-abuse disorders that put them at risk for re-injury. People with a history of childhood trauma are especially at risk for PTSD after an assault.