Community Advancement for Peace
Communities throughout the world are investigating various approaches to reduce violence. Given that Jamaica’s homicide rate is currently the highest in the Caribbean and the third highest globally, the need for evidence-based interventions to reduce violence is especially critical.
In 2004-8, VPA initiated a hospital-based intervention at the Bustamante Hospital for Children (BHC) called the Child Abuse Mitigation Project, or CAMP Bustamante. In 2017-present, VPA initiated a similar hospital-based intervention at the Cornwall Regional Hospital. The intention remains that the government will be able to sustain this type of initiative within other hospitals island wide.
Data show that the main victims and perpetrators of violent crimes are young males between the ages of 16 and 24.
A study of injury cases attending an A&E Department found that 25% of males in this age group indicated that they planned to take reprisal action against the person(s) that caused their injury.
The CAMP model employs dedicated Social Workers who screen the children/youth for levels of risk of abuse, violence, repeat violence or reprisals, identified through the hospital’s Jamaica Injury Surveillance System (JISS). Home and school visits are conducted, followed by relevant referrals and follow-up actions with support agencies and community programmes, which help to reduce the risk factors associated with violence and possible reprisals, and increase the protective factors for these children at home and in the community. Reporting to the National Children’s Registry (NCR) and the Child Protection and Family Services agency, CPFSA, is, of course, mandatory for all children.
Data is extracted through the Jamaica Injury Surveillance System (JISS). Data Analysis is used for patient care planning at major hospitals, as well as policy and intervention planning for the Ministry of Health & Wellness, Cabinet, VPA, other agencies.
Community Advancement for Peace Project
The project now to be implemented at the Kingston Public Hospital is a modification of the CAMP model and is called the “Community Advanced Peace Project” or CAPP. CAPP will be collaborating with two other agencies - the Peace Management Initiative (PMI) and the MultiCare Youth Foundation, (MCYF). The 24-month project seeks to reduce the involvement in violence and reprisals of high-risk youth aged 10 to 29 in the communities of Trench Town, Whitfield Town, with one other area to be determined by year 2.
The children will be identified from the BHC (10-12-year olds) and the majority of the older youths (under 18-year olds) and young adults (under 29-year olds) will be identified at KPH. Those presenting with violence related injuries (VRI) will be screened for potential involvement in the program based on their address and/or the location where the incident took place and potential level of risk.
Working with the Medical Records, the A&E, the Social Work Departments as well as Nursing, IT and other relevant departments at KPH and BHC, the CAPP Social Workers will screen for levels of risk, and those assessed as medium- and high-risk will be channelled into the other components of the overall project.
Like the CAMP model, the CAPP Social Workers and/or the Violence Interrupter(s) from PMI will conduct home, school and community visits and interventions; relevant data will be collected and analysed. Mental health and psycho-social services may be required for some medium- and high-risk youth and working with hospital staff, follow-up visits will be conducted by Social Workers three months post-referral. Remedial interventions for the medium- and high-risk youth include life skills and psychosocial activities, literacy and numeracy, parenting and family strengthening, counselling for intimate partner violence. The collaborative intervention offers skills training and community cohesion activities, such as sports.
Violence Interrupters (VI), are part of PMI’s Violence Interruption Programme. It is a peace-building approach used to help curtail violence in the communities. The VIs undergo training in conflict management, mediation and behavioural change, among other interventions.
CAPP is being managed by the VPA, under the Executive Director Dr Deanna Ashley with support from a Project Coordinator and Project Administrator as other consultants with specific roles (e.g. data management, entrepreneurship training etc.). The collaborative project is supported by USAID/FHI360 Local Partner Development.
The CAMP and now the CAPP projects consider the VIs as critical members of the team, especially when there is a high risk of reprisal when a person is admitted at hospital with a violence related injury from a community incident.