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ECMC & NYS Division of Criminal Justice collaborate to help reduce gun violence & improve services for area victims

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Fri, Jun 4th 2021 09:20 am

Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corp. and the New York State Division of Criminal Justice have come together to establish a new collaboration between the state’s SNUG Street Outreach program and BRAVE (Buffalo Rising Against Violence at ECMC). This new endeavor is designed to expand the existing work of both programs to further reduce gun violence and improve services to victims of violent crime in the Buffalo area.

A press release noted BRAVE is the region’s only hospital-based violence intervention program (HVIP). SNUG is New York’s program that treats gun violence as a public health issue and addresses the trauma individuals face due to long-term exposure to violence using credible messengers and providing services to improve lives and strengthen neighborhoods impacted by crime. The partnership allows BRAVE and SNUG to reach victims of gun violence at the time of traumatic injury.”

SNUG’s outreach workers, social workers and case managers work with ECMC professionals by combining medical treatment and recovery with education, counseling, social services and case management to “change attitudes about guns and violence in a way that can prevent future involvement in violence.”

Led by Pastor James Giles since 2010, SNUG “worked tirelessly to prevent gun violence through mediation on the streets. Pastor Giles has now passed the reigns to the next generation of dedicated antiviolence outreach workers, social workers and case managers, who, working with ECMC’s BRAVE team, will further equip survivors with tools to make lifestyle changes that can prevent revictimization.

“As our region’s only level 1 adult trauma center, ECMC will support the continuing SNUG initiatives to reduce gun violence. Left untreated, this trauma has long-lasting, negative effects on the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities.”

A unique collaboration between the Division of Criminal Justice Services and state Office of Victim Services funds and supports the SNUG program in Buffalo and 11 other communities across the state: Albany, the Bronx, Hempstead, Mt. Vernon, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, Syracuse, Troy, Yonkers and Wyandanch. In addition to state funding for street outreach work, the program uses federal Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) funding to provide SNUG participants, outreach workers and victims of violence in these communities with improved access to trauma-informed counseling, support groups, advocacy and other assistance. Also funded by the state Office of Victim Services, BRAVE is one of 212 victim assistance programs that provide direct services, including advocacy, legal help, counseling and emergency shelter, to victims of crime and their families.

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