In recognition of the complex interplay of individual and societal factors that can lead to youth violence, the Multidisciplinary Violence Prevention Core of the TCRC conducts research, intervention development, and capacity building in multidisciplinary approaches to violence prevention. In partnership with the law enforcement, health and social service sectors, and community members, our team has engaged in innovative research and programming over the past 10 years to understand and prevent youth radicalization to violence. We believe that community-based multidisciplinary programming that addresses both trauma and the social context offers the greatest promise for the prevention of extremist or targeted violence. Our team is actively working to implement and evaluate this approach both locally and globally. Our commitment to social justice, equity, and human rights stands at the heart of this work.
Multidisciplinary and Whole-of-Society Prevention of Terrorism and Targeted Violence — A Massachusetts Area Prevention (MAP) Framework
In 2020, the TCRC launched a regional prevention initiative focused on reducing youth risk for targeted violence and terrorism. A two-year grant from the Department of Homeland Security supports the implementation of the MAP framework to reduce mental health problems and increase social belongingness among adolescents through a multi-pronged, evidence-informed, and community-based program. The MAP framework includes expanding a youth advisory board, implementing school-based belongingness programming, and establishing a multidisciplinary service coordination team to support the connection of at-risk youth to supportive community-based services.
To learn more about multidisciplinary team approaches to addressing targeted violence and terrorism, see Ellis and colleagues (2020).
Evaluation of a Community-Based Threat Assessment Team: A Formative Evaluation of the Massachusetts Bay Threat Assessment Team
The goal of this project is to identify a model for how a community-based Multidisciplinary Threat Assessment and Management Team (MTAMT) can operate by identifying and engaging individuals at risk for radicalization to violence, and then providing them with supportive services that contribute to a reduction in risk for violence (e.g., mental health care). In order to accomplish this goal, we are conducting a formative evaluation and evaluability assessment of an existing statewide MTAMT in its early stages of operation: the Massachusetts Bay Threat Assessment Team (MassBayTAT). The MassBayTAT is a collaboration between the Boston FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and the U.S. Attorney's Office, with supporting partnerships from representatives of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Massachusetts Department of Education, and the Executive Office of the Trial Courts. This formative evaluation project is supported by a grant from the National Institute of Justice.
Repatriation and Reintegration ("R&R") of Children from Formerly ISIS-Controlled Territories
There are about 12,000 women and children who have spent time in formerly ISIS-controlled territories. These children have experienced widespread trauma, including violence exposure, food deprivation, unsanitary and dangerous living conditions, and traumatic loss. The vast majority remain in camps in northern Syria in inhumane conditions; a small number have returned to their countries of ethnic origin. As more children and parents return to their homelands, there is an urgent need to support their successful integration.
Building Capacity of Mental Health Practitioners to Assess and Manage Risk for Targeted Violence and Terrorism in Community Settings
A primary challenge to establishing and enhancing locally based prevention efforts is the lack of specialized training and expertise in targeted violence and terrorism (TVT) among community-based mental health practitioners (MHPs). The primary goal of this project is to build capacity of mental health practitioners to assess and manage risk for targeted violence and terrorism in collaboration with local multi-disciplinary threat assessment teams. Our efforts to achieve this will unfold in two phases:
- development and preliminary testing of a clinically useful TVT risk assessment/management tool, the TVT Strengths, Needs, and Risks: Assessment & Management (T-SAM) tool
- tool training and consultation for community based mental health practitioners across the country
To learn more about this project and about the opportunity to participate in the first training cohort of the T-SAM, click here.