the Cycle of Violence
Monterey County has the highest rates of youth homicide in the state. Our doctors and donors see a once-in-a-lifetime chance to interrupt this cycle with the CHOICE program when victims receive treatment at the Natividad Trauma Center. CHOICE empowers a specialized team of Peer Intervention Specialists to provide emotional care to victims of gunshot wounds, stabbings and assaults. Since its inception in 2015, CHOICE has helped more than 170 victims of violence and their families heal mentally and emotionally during and after their recovery at the Trauma Center.
CHOICE Peer Intervention Specialists educate and connect patients and their families to safety, mental health, education, employment and faith-based resources in their communities. The CHOICE team mentors the individuals toward more positive life influences and provides peer-based case management for up to a year after their injuries.
It’s critical to break the cycle of violence with programs like CHOICE. Without intervention, many patients return to the same violent environment where their injury occurred. Our 3-year re-injury rate for victims of violence participating in CHOICE is 1%, compared with the 5-year national average of 44%. Nationally, 20% will die as a result of their injury. The CHOICE program reaches out when the patient is in a calm, nurturing environment, educating on how to avoid returning to violent circumstances, preventing violent retaliation and reducing the likelihood of further injuries.