Breaking The Cycle of Violence

The Emergency Department Violence Intervention Program ( front page of the Winnipeg Free Press today. Congratulations to Dr. Carolyn Snider and her team, including Heather Tiede, Billy Dubery, Nathan Thomas, Curly Mousseau, Heather Woodward, Dale Goulet and John Armstrong!

It should be noted that many GAIN members were and are involved in this new program.


Original FREE PRESS article here…

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESSThe Health Sciences Centre team includes Billy Dubery (from left), Nathan Thomas, Dr. Carolyn Snider, Curly Mousseau, Heather Woodward and Dale Goulet. Missing: John Armstrong

Stomping out youth violence

Health Sciences Centre ER launches unique program

By Larry Kusch

An HSC emergency room physician has convinced a national funding agency Winnipeg’s skyhigh rate of violence to youth should be viewed as a public health concern.

Dr. Carolyn Snider is leading a team that will begin approaching injured youth — while they’re at the trauma hospital’s adult or children’s emergency departments — to offer counselling.

Snider has received close to $900,000 from the Canadian Institute for Health Research for a two-year pilot project that will determine the value of a hospital- intervention approach based, in part, on programs in San Francisco, Oakland, Calif., and Philadelphia.

At the same time, she and her team will conduct research to determine the cost benefit of instituting a permanent program at the hospital, which could cost about $500,000 a year. The expectation is it could save society a substantial amount of money — not to mention the physical and emotional pain for the victims and their families.

Snider, who came to Winnipeg two years ago after working in a downtown Toronto emergency department, said the extent of youth violence in Winnipeg is “overwhelming at times.”

“It’s, sadly, the perfect place to do this research,” she said Monday.

Snider’s team includes five specially trained youth counsellors — adults who either experienced violence as youths or whose family was directly affected by it — a social worker and possibly mental-health and addictions workers.

A counsellor will be called to the ER when a young person seeks treatment. Young people willing to participate in the pilot project will be paired for up to a year with a counsellor, who will help them with life-skills training, identify community supports and steer them to partnering agencies for help.

TheEmergencyDepartmentViolence Intervention Program (EDVIP) will target youths aged 14 to 24. Many of the young people who wind up in ERs due to violence suffer from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, Snider noted. Many are impoverished, lack adequate housing “and a sense of belonging.”

Not all are gang members, Snider said. The youths she treats for violent injuries represent a broad spectrum of high-risk youth.

Liz Wolff, a program manager and clinician at New Directions, said framing the problem of chronic youth violence as a health concern is “brilliant.”

“I think what (Snider is) doing is important in our community, and I think there will be huge benefit to individuals who experience violence,” said Wolff, who works with troubled youth, including gang members.

Snider, who also teaches at the U of M and conducts research with the Manitoba Institute of Child Health, said she’s gratified the national funder accepted the premise that youth violence is a national health concern.

She said the institute consulted various social agencies in drafting its successful proposal. Her project competed for funds with far more traditional health projects, such as heart research.

Assuming the pilot project produces positive results, Snider will apply to the same national institute to fund a full HSC program for five years. After that, it’s hoped government will see the benefits of picking up the tab.




“We are tired of watching our children be killed, abused and left for the streets to decide their futures”

FRIDAY, APRIL 12th, 2013 WINNIPEG MANITOBA– This Tuesday will be the second city wide gang forum hosted by Winnipeg’s Gang Action Inter-Agency Network, a group of dedicated agencies working together to solve Winnipeg’s gang problem. The forum is based on a year of research and data collection on different gang strategies, gang exit strategies, youth consultation and key stakeholder interviews. GAIN will be highlighting three key aspects of a gang exit strategy and working to develop a strong action plan.


“It’s insane that in a city like Winnipeg, with a gang problem like we have, that there is no strategy for getting kids out of a gang,” says Jamil Mahmood, GAIN co-chair. “We are tired of watching our children be killed, abused and left for the streets to decide their futures. We need to step up and develop a gang exit strategy and a city wide comprehensive gang strategy before we lose any more of our children.”


WHO/WHAT: The forum will be a one day working session where groups will be prioritizing the areas of focus for the year, and creating concrete action plans. Keynote presentation to be done by the Minister of Children and Youth Opportunities, Hon. Kevin Chief and Winnipeg Police Constable Danny Smyth.


WHERE: University of Winnipeg Convocation Hall


WHEN: Tuesday April 16th, 2013



Keynotes and Research to be presented: 8:50-9:45 a.m.

Interviews available: 9:45-10:15 a.m.

Jamil Mahmood- Executive Director, Spence Neighbourhood Association

Tammy Christensen- Executive Director, Ndinawemaaganag Endaawaad Inc.

Floyd Wiebe- Gang Awareness Parents

Matt Fast- GAIN Researcher, Gang Action Interagency Network


GAIN would also like to share the youth consultation video developed to be shown to groups of youth in order to engage them in presenting solutions to gang issues that are tangible to young people living in unsafe situations. The information gathered from these youth consultations will then be analyzed and become part of the overall strategy to end gang violence in Winnipeg. The youth in the video are not actors and they were not scripted in anyway.


Please use this link to access the video:


For more information or interviews, please contact GAIN Co-chairs:

Jamil Mahmood, 204-783-8607 or 204-803-7808 e.

Tammy Christensen, 204-586-2588 e.

Taking the Next Step: A Gang Strategy – Sept. 8, 2012

Taking the Next Step: A Gang Strategy – Sept. 8, 2012

Please click: GAINeventinfo



Sept 7 & 8, 2011 – Community Mobilization Against Gangs

This is not a GAIN event…
This event is hosted by the Old St-Boniface Residents’ Association

They have extended the Early Bird Registration to Aug 19th.
The “Professional Stream” with Dr. Mark Totten are “Fee Based” and directed to agencies.
Dr. Totten’s sessions are designed for professionals including law enforcement, psychologists, sociologists, correctional officers, probation officers, CFS, social workers, healthcare professionals, educators, principals and superintendents involved in case planning and case management systems for youth involved in the corrections system and/or at risk youth. Participants will understand integrated, multi-dimensional case planning and case management models. You will begin to form regional working groups to continue collaboration and build a longer-term, province-wide strategy.
The “Parent/Community Stream” with Richard Ramos has been sponsored and therefore “FREE”.
“Richard Ramos session is designed specifically for Parents and their communities. Participants will learn to develop the right program for your community and will develop parenting skills you did not know you had.”
The website is:

They have extended the early-bird rate until August 19th


Winnipeg gets federal anti-crime funding

CBC News Posted: Aug 3, 2011 8:44 PM CT 

The federal government is providing nearly $1 million to anti-crime projects in Winnipeg, Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews announced Wednesday.

Among the projects receiving funding is Turning the Tides — a program designed to prevent at-risk youth in Winnipeg from joining youth gangs.

“Through programs like these, at-risk youth are learning life skills that help them make smart choices, and avoid gangs and a life of crime,” Toews said after touring the site.

“We are delivering on our promise to support families and communities by helping youth stay away from crime and gangs, and out of the justice system.”

Toews said Ottawa would provide $928,000 through the $7.5 million Youth Gang Prevention Fund for five projects in Winnipeg, which he said “further demonstrates the government’s commitment to preventing crime and making Canadian streets safe.”

The projects, all in Winnipeg, receiving funding for a year are:

  • Just TV pilot program, Broadway Neighbourhood Centre, $157,487.60.
  • Project O.A.S.I.S., new directions for children, youth, adults and families, $168,225.58.
  • West Central Youth Outreach Project, Spence Neighbourhood Association, $190,006.12.
  • Circle of Courage, Ka Ni Kanichihk Inc., $182,670.28.
  • Turning the Tides, Ndinawemaaganag Endaawaad Inc., $229,961.89.

The Government of Manitoba is also providing funding for the Just TV pilot program, Project O.A.S.I.S., Circle of Courage and Turning the Tides.

“Preventing crime and making our neighbourhoods safer takes a co-ordinated approach between governments, police and community agencies,” provincial Justice Minister Andrew Swan said.

“These programs complement our efforts to deal strongly with those who break the law by providing youth with structured programming, connections to caring and trained staff and guidance and support to help them choose to avoid a life of crime.”

CeaseFire could fight inner-city violence

GAIN made the Free Press today!

Winnipeg Free Press – PRINT EDITION

CeaseFire could fight inner-city violence

Initial results in Chicago show 45% fewer shootings

By: Bruce Owen

Winnipeg Fee Press / Ken Gigliotti Dr. Gary Slutkin created an inner-city violence-reduction initiative called CeaseFire in Chicago.

It’s called CeaseFire, and it’s worked so well in Chicago and other big American cities to reduce street and gang violence, the provincial government is eyeing importing it to Winnipeg.

The Selinger government on Wednesday brought CeaseFire’s architect, Dr. Gary Slutkin, to the province to explain it to about 50 inner-city community workers, justice officials and police officers who are part of the city’s Gang Action Interagency Network (GAIN). Premier Greg Selinger learned of the program and met Slutkin during a recent government trip to Illinois.

What separates CeaseFire from other crime-prevention programs is it’s based on a public-health model. Slutkin, a professor of epidemiology and international health at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and executive director of CeaseFire, came up with the idea in the mid-1990s after treating infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and AIDS in San Francisco and in Africa.
Slutkin, who is also speaking in Ottawa and Calgary, said CeaseFire works because by recruiting people in the community to work as outreach workers, it attacks violence more as a disease than as a law-and-order problem.

“We’re seeing it as an infectious process that people pick up from each other,” he said. “It’s a behaviour that other people model, and it needs to be interrupted and dealt with through behaviour change and health methods.

“That’s what we’ve demonstrated and proven can be done.”

The initial results of CeaseFire, an initiative of the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention, showed an average 45 per cent reduction in shootings in five Chicago neighbourhoods. Some neighbourhoods are now showing reductions of up to 67 per cent. Kansas City and Baltimore are two other cities that have adopted the program.

Slutkin said a similar program can work in Winnipeg and be tailored to particular neighbourhoods like the North End and the inner city, where aboriginal people have a disproportionate contact with law enforcement.

“Only an aboriginal can interact with an aboriginal just like an African American with an African American and so on,” he said.

CeaseFire community workers are part of the community and have a connection to what’s happening to act as “interruptors,” Slutkin said.

“Interruptors can intercept whispers of what is going on in the neighbourhood. For example, if someone was angry at someone else for looking at his girlfriend, or if someone owed somebody money or had been disrespected and someone was going to shoot or knife somebody else, we’d be able to pick up those whispers and be able to tell that person to not do it.”

Leslie Spillett, executive director of inner-city agency Ka Ni Kanichihk, said for a program like CeaseFire to work in Winnipeg, it would need dedicated funding for a long period of time.
She said many existing programs only see year-to-year public or foundation funding.

“You cannot do this work on a year-to-year basis,” she said. “This is a large investment, a large investment of resources.”

Slutkin said the program not only reduces violence but also the costs of paramedic and hospital care for the victim, police investigations, court prosecutions and prison sentences for the accused.

“When there is a knifing or a shooting, it’s extremely expensive to the taxpayer,” he said.