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ECMC & NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services Collaborate to Help Reduce Gun Violence & Improve Services For Area Victims

BUFFALO, NEW YORK—Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corporation and the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services 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 will expand the existing work of both programs to further reduce gun violence and improve services to victims of violent crime in the Buffalo area.

BRAVE is the region’s only hospital-based violence intervention program (HVIP) and SNUG is New York State’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 anti-violence 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 re-victimization. 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.

About Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corporation: The ECMC Corporation was established as a New York State Public Benefit Corporation and since 2004 has included an advanced academic medical center with 573 inpatient beds, on- and off-campus health centers, more than 30 outpatient specialty care services and Terrace View, a 390-bed long-term care facility. ECMC is Western New York’s only Level 1 Adult Trauma Center, as well as a regional center for burn care, behavioral health services, transplantation, medical oncology and head & neck cancer care, rehabilitation and a major teaching facility for the University at Buffalo. Most ECMC physicians, dentists and pharmacists are dedicated faculty members of the university and/or members of a private practice plan. More Western New York residents are choosing ECMC for exceptional patient care and patient experiences – the difference between healthcare and true care.

About the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services: DCJS is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including law enforcement training; collection and analysis of statewide crime data; maintenance of criminal history information and fingerprint files; administrative oversight of the state’s DNA databank, in partnership with the New York State Police; funding and oversight of probation and community correction programs; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state’s Sex Offender Registry.

About the New York State Office of Victim Services: OVS provides a critical safety net for individuals and/or their family members, helping those who are eligible with medical and counseling expenses, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages, and support, in addition to other assistance. Funding for crime victims’ compensation is generated by fines, fees and surcharges paid by certain offenders convicted in state or federal court. The agency also funds and supports a network of 221 victim assistance programs that provide direct services to victims and survivors of crime and their families.

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