For Immediate Release:
April 06, 2022
LOS ANGELES – As a part of National Public Health Week, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is announcing that the Office of Violence Prevention’s (OVP) Trauma Prevention Initiative (TPI), which provides a comprehensive, place-based model for violence prevention and intervention that invests in community-driven safety solutions, including peer outreach and local leadership, is expanding to five new communities across the County.
Los Angeles County has seen an increase in violence over the past two years. Homicides rose 41% and gun homicides rose 39% in Los Angeles County in 2020 compared to 2019. The number of homicides in the first quarter of 2021 was 54% higher than the number of homicides in the first quarter of 2020, and 67% higher than in the first quarter of 2019.
The effects of violence on the lives of individuals, families, and communities in the County are physically, socially, and emotionally devastating. They are also unequal, as data on violence-related injuries and deaths makes it clear that people of color and people in communities that have borne the brunt of poverty, divestment, and racism are disproportionately impacted by violence.
TPI was first implemented in South Los Angeles communities in 2016. On July 13th, 2021, the LA County Board of Supervisors approved a motion to expand TPI to five new communities across the County and provide additional resources to South LA communities, including Westmont West Athens, Willowbrook, Florence Firestone, and unincorporated Compton. OVP partners with community members and stakeholders to adapt evidence-based violence prevention and intervention strategies to the unique needs of each community.
The Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) is advancing policy, practice and system change that works to increase access to safety, health and healing services and resources to all individuals regardless of race or zip code. This is best achieved by centering the voices of those most impacted by violence, investing in peer approaches and grassroots organizations, and uplifting trauma prevention and healing for both survivors of violence and those who work to address violence. OVP aligns county and community partners to bring a healing-centered and equity lens to address multiple forms of violence.
OVP’s approach to address violence includes the following strategies:
• Establishing Community Action for Peace Networks to build leadership, identify community priorities, and promote peace. • Street Outreach and Community Violence Intervention to respond to violent incidents and promote peace. • Hospital Violence Intervention to engage victims of violence in the hospital setting. • Hiring Peer Specialists with lived experience to support community engagement and intervention in each region.
TPI also collaborates with partners to support safe community hubs like the DPH Wellness Communities and School-based Wellbeing Centers, Libraries, and Parks and Recreation.
“It’s important that we provide spaces for our communities to connect and express what safety means to them and to be empowered with the unique resources they need to help prevent and end violence –this is why the expansion of the Trauma Prevention Initiative is vital. The Second District championed initial investments in this initiative and, as a result, we have taken a comprehensive approach to ending violence that centers community leaders and survivors in developing the solutions. I commend the Department of Public Health’s leadership in helping to make the Trauma Prevention Initiative more accessible throughout the County,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair, Holly J. Mitchell.
“When Public Health established the County’s Office of Violence Prevention, we prioritized a public health approach that could invest in community-led approaches to securing peace. Public Health believes violence is preventable and predictable. And that violence is the result of trauma,” Ferrer said. “If we can heal the wounds of trauma, we can help stop violence. The County’s Trauma Prevention Initiative is community-driven and centered on survivors. And key to this powerful work, are the members of the Community Action for Peace networks who are tireless partners in the neighborhoods, advancing peace goals, block by block.”
For other Public Health Week events and more information, visit: publichealth.lacounty.gov/phweek.