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Clients of BMC's violence interventional advocacy program find experience supportive
Date:7/22/2014

entified the major challenges to physical and emotional healing were fear and safety, isolation as a coping mechanism, lack of trust, bitterness and symptoms of PTSD (intense fear, hypervigilance, estrangement from others, emotional detachment). Fears of going out of the house or being seen on the bus were limiting factors to moving forward. Participants felt unsociable and withdrawn, isolating themselves from friends and family. They described feeling unsafe anywhere in Boston.

Half of participants expressed feelings of distrust or apathy towards their violence intervention advocate (VIA) at first contact. As the relationship progressed, these participants described how their attitude towards their VIA changed. Many described feeling comfortable with their VIA after seeing how they genuinely cared. The other half trusted their VIA immediately. Eight described longer-term relationships that went beyond physical recovery. Almost all participants described comfort talking to their VIA while characterizing how the relationships evolved over time. Six mentioned aspects of "listening" or "understanding" in concurrence to describing the relationship progression.

Participants recounted a number of ways VIAs supported them post-injury including counseling and support, help with education, employment, and life skills. "Counseling and support was the most commonly cited service in our study," explained lead author Thea James, MD, founder and director of BMC's VIAP and an emergency room physician at BMC. "According to most participants, VIAs played a crucial role and filled a gap that is often missing from other service providers; connection to a caring and understanding adult that went beyond the scope of physical recovery from injury," added James an associate professor of emergency medicine at BUSM.

Half of participants expressed feelings of retaliation initially, but almost all chose not to retaliate since participating in VIAP for a variety of reas
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Contact: Gina DiGravio
gina.digravio@bmc.org
617-638-8480
Boston University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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