Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Violence Prevention Initiative

Violence is a public health epidemic in our country and carries with it significant health and psychosocial consequences, particularly for young people. Tragically, today more than 40 percent of kids in the U.S. are exposed to some form of violence -- or the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against another person or group. Every year, hundreds of thousands of injured youth ages 10 to 24 are cared for in emergency departments across the country due to violence. The impact of violence can last long after the violence occurs. Violence prevention is key in breaking this cycle.

When we support children exposed to violence, we can prevent:

  • Challenges related to physical, emotional and developmental health
  • Long-term physiologic and brain changes
  • School failure, drug abuse and delinquency
  • Future violence-related injuries and death

The Violence Prevention Initiative (VPI) at CHOP is a hospital- and community-based effort to reduce exposure to and impact of violence among children and families. VPI staff conduct high impact research and design innovative, evidence-based programs that are implemented across clinical, school and neighborhood settings. VPI programs are guided by trauma-informed practices, principles of social justice and equity, and community-based participatory research.

What: A Hospital-Led, Community-Involved Violence Prevention Model


VPI Co-Directors Joel Fein and Stephen Leff

VPI applies a research-to-action-to-impact approach to address exposure to and impact of violence in the lives of our patients and their families by developing, implementing, and evaluating evidence-based programs and initiatives. As part of a pediatric health care organization, VPI operates in primary care clinics, where we screen for and respond to domestic violence and peer bullying; in schools, where we partner with teachers and counselors to prevent bullying by teaching children how to problem solve challenging situations by managing feelings, reading social cues, and being positive bystanders; and in the hospital, where we screen teenagers for and respond to risk of suicide, depression and other behavioral issues, as well as provide violently injured children and their families with intensive case management services and connections to community resources.

VPI trauma-informed practices:

  • Prevent violence and aggression
  • Support at-risk populations
  • Help our patients heal

Learn more about the variety of violence awareness/prevention projects that are also underway across CHOP and the CHOP Care Network.

Who: Violence Prevention Experts From a Pediatric Hospital

Meet our team of multidisciplinary researchers and clinicians who specialize in understanding the causes and impact of different types of violence on youth. We are led by Co-Directors Joel Fein, MD, MPH, and Stephen Leff, PhD.

How: Help Stop Violence and Support Healing

Ongoing research continuously refines and improves our programmatic efforts and the content of this website to make the greatest impact. Be sure to check back for new information and updated content.