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Project Ujima

2004 Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards

Project Ujima | Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Project Ujima is a multidisciplinary, hospital-based model of youth violence intervention that features a collaboration among the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, the Medical College of Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a number of community-based organizations. 

Services begin in the Children's Hospital Emergency Department, where volunteer peer liaisons and paid community liaisons provide youth victims with crisis intervention and support. The community liaisons follow up by visiting the homes of the victims, where they assess needs and offer guidance in seeking services. Project staff continues to offer ongoing psychological support and referral to victim and community services. 

In addition to treating physical wounds, the project offers support groups, educational classes, and therapeutic recovery activities to youth victims. It also helps them navigate the legal system and facilitates their pursuit of crime victim compensation benefits. Ujima therapists provide in-home counseling that helps victims deal with the emotional and psychological issues attendant to victimization, including chronic anxiety and sleep disturbances. 

Project staff goes beyond providing typical victim services, also assisting with educational testing, school placement and transition, and safety plans. They also serve as their clients' medical advocates with insurers. Project Ujima provides free services to high-risk, inner-city victims and reaches more than 1,400 victims and their families. Less than two percent of program participants sustain a repeated violent injury.