Down Arrow

Monterey County has been known to have the highest rates of youth homicide in the state. CHOICE, a hospital-based violence intervention and prevention program of Natividad Foundation, provides victims of violence being treated at Natividad’s American College of Surgeons’ Re-Verified Level II Trauma Center a new start in life. CHOICE empowers a specialized team of Intervention Specialists to provide emotional care to victims of gunshot wounds, stabbings and assaults. Since its inception in 2015, CHOICE has helped more than 300 victims of violence and their families heal mentally and emotionally during and after their recovery at the Trauma Center.

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. CHOICE Intervention Specialists educate and connect victims of violence and their families to safety, mental health, education, employment and faith-based resources in their communities. The CHOICE team mentors these individuals toward more positive life changes 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. The re-injury rate for victims of violence participating in CHOICE has been maintained at 1%-2% in the past six years compared with the 5-year national average of 44%. Nationally, 20% of victims of violence will die as a result of their injury.

In 2020, 90% of program clients were Hispanic/Latino, 93% were male, and ages ranged from 12 -57 years old. During 2021, 1,669 individual client basic needs and direct services were met and provided. Intervention Specialists were able to provide clients and their families with direct victim services, including helping to resolve emotional, psychological and physical needs.

Together, we can help heal the cycle of violence in Monterey County.