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Protocol Development for Community-Based Grief Centers

In 1989, Separation and Loss Services at Virginia Mason Medical Center (VMMC) in Seattle, Washington, initiated a support program for family members of victims of violent death. With the cooperation of the county medical examiner, this community support program continues to contact Seattle families affected by homicide to offer outreach, advocacy, and clinical intervention.

To further enhance these services, OVC initiated a cooperative agreement with VMMC that is intended to help five cities prepare for incidents of mass violence and terrorism and crimes that affect entire communities, such as school shootings and sniper attacks. This project will bring together victim service providers, mental health practitioners, criminal justice professionals, community leaders, and members of the faith community to design protocols for establishing grief centers in the event of community violence. The cities undertaking the 1-year pilot projects are Houston, Texas; Altoona, Pennsylvania; Lockport, New York; Detroit, Michigan; and Memphis, Tennessee. VMMC will serve as the conduit of funding to the pilot sites and provide guidance for site staff. For more information, visit www.vdbs.org.

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