On November 12 and 13, more than 30 community leaders, members of law enforcement, and social service providers came together for the local launch of Group Violence Intervention (GVI), an evidence-based approach to violence reduction developed by the National Network for Safe Communities (NNSC). GVI is being implemented in Cedar Rapids through the work of the Creating Safe, Equitable and Thriving Communities (SET) Fund.
Earlier this year, the SET Fund was awarded a $465,000 grant to support its work in reducing youth violence in Cedar Rapids, including the new partnership with NNSC. The SET Fund was established in 2018 through a partnership with the City of Cedar Rapids, Linn County, and the Cedar Rapids Community School District to address the inter-relational factors in our community that lead to youth violence.
The GVI model reduces group-related violence by focusing on those who are at very high risk for violent victimization, which is usually an extremely small percentage of any given community. By concentrating on those individuals and coordinating the efforts of key stakeholders—law enforcement, social services, and community-based groups—the model interrupts the cycle of violence and retaliation.
“NNSC has implemented GVI in several communities with amazing results,” said Rachel Rockwell, SET Program Officer at the Community Foundation. “We’re very excited about what this means for our community, and we’re very hopeful for the future.”
The November launch, held virtually, laid the groundwork for utilizing this approach in Cedar Rapids. In the months ahead, those stakeholders will find new ways of working together and will engage with NNSC regularly.
“Success will require sustained collaboration amongst entities that are not necessarily accustomed to doing so,” said Anne H. Carter, a member of the SET Policy Committee.
Besides reducing violence, GVI also works to build trust between the community and criminal justice agencies. Many of the strategies of GVI are based on the fact that communities are not dangerous, and violence is carried out by a small number of people.
The SET Fund will continue to make grants to local programs and projects.
To make a gift to the SET Fund, click here.
To learn more about the SET Fund, click here.