Youth Violence Prevention Initiative

Youth Violence Prevention Initiative

The Worcester Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (WYVPI) is the City's response to address youth violence comprehensively, holistically and collectively. WYVPI is the result of a comprehensive gang and youth violence assessment and citywide strategic planning process that engaged hundreds of youth, adult residents and other stakeholders from fall 2013 through spring 2015.

2015 Assessment 2018 Assessment

Mission

To reduce youth violence in the City of Worcester by eliminating structural racism and promoting trust, safety, healing and opportunities for Worcester's most under-resourced youth and families. This will be achieved through policy and system change that ensures equitable distribution of resources and opportunities, collaboration that breaks institutional and organizational siloes and transparency of process and outcomes through consistent information sharing.

Vision

Worcester will be a place where all of its young people regardless of age, race, ethnicity, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, housing situation, family status or religion feel safe, secure, respected and live a life free from violence. Barriers to resources and opportunities will be eliminated, generational cycles of violence will be broken and youth and families will heal and be free of trauma.

Guiding Principles

  • Start early and never stop supporting youth and families.
  • The affected population is an asset and should be involved in plan design, implementation and evaluation.
  • Engage community leaders, residents, business owners, faith leaders, service providers and the high risk population with the message that violence should not be viewed as "normal" but as a changeable behavior.
  • Address structural racism by engaging in community dialogue, addressing systemic barriers and creating a community language via best practice workshops for leaders, providers and high risk young people and families.

Priority Areas

The work of the Worcester Youth Violence Prevention Initiative is organized into three priority areas:

  • To increase youth and families' access to support and assets by addressing barriers to community resources.
  • To prevent and treat trauma and to promote healing from past trauma.
  • To foster opportunities for diversion from the criminal justice system at every decision point possible - from police, to schools, to the courts.

Structure

The Initiative established a robust organizational structure with a Governance Committee, Working Groups, a Planning Team and an Accountability Committee consisting of residents of all ages who have experienced community violence. This organizational structure facilitates information sharing and communication, collective data review, cross-sector training and policy change. The Working Groups have generated new resources to implement needed strategies.

Graphic of the Structure of the Youth Violence Prevention Working Group

Timeline & Community Engagement

Rendering of Roseland Apartments
Rendering of Entrance to Worcester Common Garage

Contact Information

City Manager
City Hall Room 306
455 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01608

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