Police Action Counseling Team (PACT)
PACT (the Police Action Counseling Team) provides crisis intervention to children who witness or have been victims of violence, in order to reduce trauma and to ultimately interrupt the cycle of family violence.
Historically, Chelsea has had high rates of child abuse and child neglect reports to the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families and high violence-related injuries in the community. Youth and family violence emerged as the main area of concern for the Chelsea community during a health assessment process completed by CCHI in 1996. In response, the Community Health Improvement Team of MGH Chelsea has developed programs, including PACT, to address and prevent such violence in its earliest stages.
The goals of PACT (the Police Action Counseling Team), a partnership between MGH Chelsea and the Chelsea Police Department, are to facilitate the healing process and to strengthen the resiliency of children. Clinical social workers from MGH Chelsea are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for immediate, on-the-scene response to 911 calls of potential domestic violence when children are present. Once police officers establish physical safety, the social workers provide on-site, developmentally appropriate interventions and psycho-education to help children express their feelings and concerns, through outlets such as drawing and the use of puppets, in order to manage symptoms of trauma. The team assists child victims and their families in finding constructive means to reestablish stability after a traumatic event. In addition to direct services, PACT provides training to MGH psychology and social work interns, MGH psychiatry residents, and Harvard Medical students, also offering them opportunities to ride with police officers as part of their training experience.
- Chelsea police officers collaborated with PACT clinicians on 80 cases regarding children exposed to violence in the community. Among the PACT cases, 81 percent of reports of suspected abuse or neglect (51-A’s) were filed by police (a 44% increase since 2008).
PACT clinicians spoke directly with 60 families (75 percent of cases) either on the phone or in person and provided 102 referrals to 63 percent of these families.
PACT provided face-to-face interventions to 38 families.
-85 percent of these cases involved a child exposed to violence.
-PACT discussed safety planning with 68 percent of these families.
-Emergency restraining orders were issued to 42 percent of domestic violence cases.
Phone: 617 887-3789