New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announces $20 million in funding to establish 9 hospital-based violence intervention programs
September 24, 2019— For taking action to combat the gun violence epidemic, Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, today commended New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal for announcing $20 million in federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding to establish nine new hospital-based violence intervention programs (HVIPs) across New Jersey.
Statement from Nico Bocour, state legislative director at Giffords:
“Efforts to intervene after a shooting can make a substantial impact in saving lives. These hospital intervention programs get to the root causes of violence by working to ensure that victims are not just treated and then discharged back into the same dangerous circumstances. By building a relationship at the hospital bed and continuing to work with victims after they are discharged, these programs help to break the cycle of violence. We thank Governor Phil Murphy, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, and Senior Advisor Bill Castner for continuing to be leaders on this issue and look forward to the success stories that arise from this lifesaving investment.”
The Attorney General’s announcement details the $20 million in VOCA grants will fund nine separate hospital-based violence intervention programs over a 21 month period—from January 2020 through September 2021. Additionally, up to $2 million of the $21 million in grants will be awarded to a training and technical assistance provider with experience in implementing these types of programs and support all nine programs to ensure they are properly implementing the HVIPs.
Hospital-based Violence Intervention Programs are built upon the premise that the strongest risk factor for violent injury is a history of previous violent injury, with the chances of injury recidivism as high as 45% within the first five years. In fact, a previous violent injury makes future death from violent injury nearly twice as likely. Being the victim of violence also significantly increases the chances of a person becoming a perpetrator of violence.
As HVIPs are implemented in more areas, a growing body of evidence confirms that the HVIP strategy significantly reduces injury recidivism rates and corresponding medical costs, such that these programs may actually save the medical system money. This outcome is not surprising when one considers that the average cost of hospital treatment for non-fatally injured patients is $24,350 with an additional $57,029 for lost productivity. In fact, one investigation estimates that the expenses associated with gun violence cost the American people $229 billion per year. Medical costs are further compounded because gunshot victims are often underinsured, and trauma centers only recoup an estimated 30% of medical charges.
This comprehensive report released recently by Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, notes that local businesses are severely impacted when gun violence occurs, as shootings keep customers and tourists away and often limit hours of operation. On average, there are 2,014 shootings in New Jersey each year, resulting in directly measurable costs of over $1.2 billion annually. That includes:
Healthcare costs: $93 million
Law enforcement and criminal justice expenses: $131 million
Costs to employers: $8 million
Lost income: $918 million
Much of this tab is picked up by the public. Up to 85% of gunshot victims, for example, are either uninsured or on some form of publicly funded insurance. Additionally, law enforcement efforts are funded entirely by taxpayer dollars. As a result, the direct annual cost of gun violence to New Jersey taxpayers is approximately $273 million.
Even more striking, when indirect costs that impact families and communities are factored in, the overall estimate of the economic cost of gun violence rises to $3.3 billion per year.