Giffords Applauds CA Gov. Gavin Newsom for Proposing New Investments in Community Violence Intervention
Washington, DC — Giffords, the gun safety organization co-founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, applauded California Governor Gavin Newsom for proposing new investments in community violence intervention programs in his budget proposal released today. Former Congresswoman Giffords joined a broad coalition of community leaders and survivors who met with the governor last week to call attention to the urgent need for stronger investments in community safety through the California Violence Intervention and Prevention (CalVIP) program. The CalVIP program supports effective, community-based violence intervention programs across the state.
Governor Newsom signed the Break the Cycle of Violence Act into law in 2019 to codify the CalVIP program, which has become a national model for legislation passed in other states and introduced in Congress. The Governor’s budget released today proposes the largest investment in violence intervention of any state to date.
Governor Newsom’s proposal adds to the significant momentum behind effortstoinvestincommunityviolenceintervention programs across the country. Last month, Giffords praised President Biden for taking historic executive action to bolster the federal government’s investment and focus on gun violence intervention programs, and for proposing a $5 billion national grant program similar to CalVIP to expand violence intervention efforts in impacted cities across the country, as part of the President’s American Jobs Plan.
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords:
“The CalVIP program funds the work of heroes—frontline violence interrupters who put themselves in harm’s way, protect and heal survivors, and stop shootings before they happen. We need their work now more than ever, which is why I am so grateful and proud that Governor Newsom has continued to be a leading champion against gun violence and proposed needed action today to make all communities safer.”
Giffords Community Violence Initiative Director, Paul Carrillo:
“Safety and security cannot be a privilege enjoyed by some—it must be shared by all,” said Paul Carrillo, Community Violence Initiative Director. “For too long, many leaders’ responses to gun violence ignored or under-invested in intervention programs that can achieve enormous lifesaving results. But today, Governor Newsom demonstrated a strong commitment to addressing the root causes of gun violence through direct investment in programs proven to save and improve peoples’ lives. We thank him for this leadership and look forward to continuing to work with him to ensure his proposal becomes a lifesaving reality.”
The California Violence Intervention and Prevention (CalVIP) Grant Program was established in 2017 and codified in the Break the Cycle of Violence Act, signed into law by Gov. Newsom in 2019. Creating and expanding CalVIP has been Giffords’ top legislative priority in California since passage of Proposition 63 in 2016. The CalVIP program provides competitive grants to support community-based violence intervention programs in cities impacted by homicides and shootings throughout the state. More and more research has shown how effective CalVIP-supported programs are at saving lives, and saving taxpayer dollars too. While CalVIP has become a national model for legislation passed in other states and introduced in Congress, CalVIP had been woefully underfunded in California.
Despite its limited funding, CalVIP-supported programs helped California make historic progress: in 2019, gun homicides among California’s 15-24-year olds fell to the lowest rate since 1970.
But since the start of the pandemic, communities nationwide have faced historic spikes in violence. In 2020, the US saw the largest spike in homicides and gun sales on record. In California, gun homicides jumped 46% after the start of the pandemic and even more in 2021. The toll of this violence has fallen overwhelmingly on the same communities most impacted by the pandemic and related economic harms.
To respond to this ongoing gun violence emergency, Giffords and a broad coalition of community leaders, gun violence prevention advocates, survivors, and lawmakers called on the governor to provide a new emergency investment in CalVIP programs this year.
Many CalVIP-supported initiatives employ professional violence interrupters to:
- Provide crisis response to shootings and homicides
- Conduct outreach to engage at-risk young people, including victims of violence recovering in hospitals
- Connect victims and individuals at highest risk with services that promote their safety and recovery from trauma, and prevent retaliatory violence, including conflict mediation, behavioral therapy and counseling, intensive case management, peer support and mentorship, relocation away from imminently dangerous circumstances, and job training and skills building
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