Project Empower: Best Practice in Hospital-based Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Patient Care

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75 Minutes

Originally Aired
April 20, 2022

Carol Olson
Carol Olson, LPC, ATR-BC
Assistant Director – Injury and Violence Prevention Program, VCU Health Systems
Director, EVAWI
Elizabeth Gilmore
Elizabeth Gilmore
Manager, Hospital-based Violence Intervention Program
Bon Secours Mercy Health Richmond

This session will highlight the development of Project Empower, a hospital-based violence intervention and prevention program, as the result of a 10-year development process. The presenters will describe the initial development, sustainability, and growth of a hospital-based intimate partner violence/domestic violence intervention program at a Level I trauma center. This session includes descriptive statistics on the process, outcome, and impact of the program. A public health approach was used to determine the problem in terms of prevalence of intimate partner violence, knowledge base of the hospital providers, and the type of intervention needed in terms intimate partner violence team development, staff education and training, patient screening, hospital-based interventions, community engagement, and referral. The presenters will share results of the implementation, including the expansion into consulting with other hospitals to develop similar programs. Project Empower’s success is represented by an exponential growth in screening access and identification of survivors who are securely linked to forensics, advocacy, counseling and follow up with local centers for ongoing support. Project Empower is now initiating collaboration with community violence programs and identifying the links between domestic violence and community violence.


As a result of this webinar, participants will be better able to:

  • Evaluate their healthcare system to identify possible partnerships in hospital-based violence intervention programs.
  • Recognize the link between effective screening and improve identification of victims of intimate partner violence and sexual assault.
  • Identify the need to integrate understanding of gender violence concepts into training on screening for intimate partner violence and sexual assault to improve outcomes. 
  • Develop collaborative programming across health-systems and local advocacy centers.

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