About the Center for Public Violence Recovery

"We know so well the rhetoric of our reaction to this violence."
We know to gather in concern. We’ve become familiar with the places and the customs of the gathering – the prayer, the song from the choir, the tableau of families embracing in the symmetry of the casket beneath the cross, young faces distorted in tears and sorrow quickly obscured in the embrace of shoulders and hands.
"But we don’t know what to do beyond that… In our city, where we grieve in so many ways from a whisper to a scream we still wonder."

– Excerpted from an editorial in the Memphis Daily News 4/30/16

The Center for Public Violence was founded to address this issue that haunts so many in our communities and scars the fabric of their souls. Restorative solutions to community trauma caused by public violence must begin at the grassroots level with leadership from local religious and human services organizations in collaboration with law enforcement and other first responders. With this focus, those who have experienced violence will be enabled to transform the fears that are entwined so deeply in their memories into hope for their lives and communities.  

Community trauma doesn’t always originate with events that attract emergency personnel. Instead it may be caused by the cumulative effect of a series of incidents – domestic violence, hate graffiti, threats, worrisome school incidents, rumors, bullying, and ripple effect trauma from events some distance away. Whether it is a major incident or a community on tenterhooks, without established protocols and knowledge of best practices, residents experience misinformation, fragmented social services, unaddressed emotional trauma, a growing sense of hopelessness, and recurring cycles of violence.

Research that included more than 200 articles published about public violence in the Disaster News Network, a series of incident-specific white papers and an exploratory study of community response found there were no comprehensive protocols or established best practices to guide a Whole Community's recovery from incidents of public violence.

Established in 2016, the Center works to identify and share best practices, develops resources and training and sponsors forums to discuss how to improve community-based prevention, response and recovery initiatives that create a new sense of hope and restore community resilience.

Like the Disaster News Network, the Center is a program of the Village Life Company, a 501(c)(3) organization that, under the guidance of a national advisory council, has researched and developed public violence resilience and disaster response programs in collaboration with religious organizations, community nonprofits and educational institutions since 1996.

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