John Chapin, Ph.D. | 2022 National Crime Victims' Service Awards
John Chapin witnessed the impact of violent crime firsthand. A child survivor of domestic violence, he was as familiar with hospital emergency rooms, courtrooms, and county jail visiting rooms as he was with his grade-school classrooms. But Chapin saw education as his way out. A first-generation college student, Chapin earned his Ph.D. at Rutgers University. His early work with at-risk youth in urban New Jersey led to life-long research in violence prevention education.
Dr. Chapin has published over 50 articles about violence prevention in prestigious national and international journals. Dr. Chapin shares his expertise and research with local school districts, nonprofits, and church and community parent organizations. He has offered violence prevention and media violence workshops and workshops with journalists in multiple states about how to cover crime without re-victimizing survivors.
Dr. Chapin received the Crime Victims Research Award. Visit the OVC Gallery for more information about her work to support victims of crime.
JOHN CHAPIN: When people ask me how I started doing research into community service and violence prevention, it's almost a direct line from growing up in a violent household. School was a safe place, and I wanted to be somebody that provided that safe place. Seeing how the court system didn't work, you know, how the system failed, definitely did light the fire, you know, for me wanting to help personally as much as I could, but also to connect people to resources. I started with health communication and risk perception and a theory called optimistic bias, which in lay terms, is bad things happen to other people.
HILARY O'TOOLE: His work really provides us with insight into what these students are thinking.
JOHN CHAPIN: I think it's really important to get to children as early as possible. You know, where does violence come from? Get students to recognize what the risks are.
HILARY O'TOOLE: And actually, having children understand what healthy relationships look like.
GRACE COLEMAN: How exciting was it to get that kind of information and realize that there was this window of opportunity where people were saying, you know, I need help potentially before I do create harm.
JOHN CHAPIN: We're taking data from the student body of Pittsburgh, of these specific schools, and using that data to improve the violence prevention curriculum. It's something that's normed to the students of this area.
HILARY O'TOOLE: John's research directly empowers survivors in so many different ways; from everything, prevention education, but also from legal, our legal services, to our rapid rehousing program.
GRACE COLEMAN: John's work with the Western Regional Training Initiative was revolutionary.
JOHN CHAPIN: So, let's take a look at it.
The purpose of the Western Regional Training Initiative was to share the resources, and so to create a video library that allowed all the centers to train constantly, instead of just on a quarterly basis. The first year, that saved over $96,000 in training costs across the 13 centers in the 10 counties.
HILARY O'TOOLE: Literally every program we have, and all of the services that we provide, are driven by John and what he does.
JOHN CHAPIN: Research helps provide access to victims of crime. Academia is the perfect tool for advocacy.
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