Child Witness to Violence Project | Boston Medical Center
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Child Witness to Violence Project

The Child Witness to Violence Project (CWVP) is a therapeutic, advocacy, and outreach project that focuses on the growing number of young children who are hidden victims of domestic and community violence and other trauma-related events. 

CWVP is staffed by a multi-cultural staff of social workers, psychologists, early childhood specialists, a consulting pediatrician and consulting attorney. It is run under the auspices of the Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center. 

Project Goals

  • To identify young children who witness acts of significant violence.
  • To help young children heal from the trauma of witnessing violence by providing developmentally appropriate counseling for them and for their families.
  • To provide consultation and training to the network of caregivers in the lives of young children in order that they may more effectively identify and respond to children who are exposed to violence.

About Us

The Child Witness to Violence Project (CWVP) is a counseling, advocacy, and outreach project that focuses on young children who are the hidden victims of domestic and community violence, and other trauma-related events. The project began in 1992 and currently provides therapy to over 150 children and their families each year. In addition, the program implements both national and state-focused training for mental health clinicians, health care professionals, police, educators, and many other social service professionals who work with  children who have witnessed violence and experienced traumatic grief.

CWVP is staffed by a multi-cultural staff of social workers, educational and clinical psychologists, early childhood specialists,  and a consulting pediatrician. It is run under the auspices of the Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center.

We are not first responders. However, if a traumatic incident occurs in the community and you are concerned about the effects on children, we are available to speak to community groups and schools in the Boston area regarding specific incidents.

Our Services 

  • Developmentally sensitive, trauma-focused therapy for the child and parent*
  • Parent guidance, family therapy as needed
  • Advocacy/intervention to stabilize the environment of the child
  • Case-related consultation to schools, and early care and development centers
  • Clinical consultation to clinicians and/or agencies working with young children affected by trauma
  • Training to professional and parents on a variety of topics related to early childhood trauma, domestic and community violence and intervention

* CWVP uses an evidence-based model of intervention for children and families: Child Parent Psychotherapy. This counseling model has been developed specifically for use with young children and their caregivers.

Referrals for Direct Service

Referrals to CWVP come from a variety of sources, including the police, health and mental health providers, Head Start and other early childhood programs, schools, attorneys, shelters for battered women, court-sponsored victim programs and the families themselves. Referral criteria include:

  • The child must be 8 years old or younger
  • The child must have witnessed or been affected by an act of significant violence
  • If the child’s primary reason for referral does not meet the criteria for our program we will help to refer the child to other programs.

For general information about our services or to make a referral, please call (617) 414-7425. If you need information in Spanish or to make a referral for a Spanish speaking family, please call (617) 414-4522.

Training and Consultation

CWVP offers many training opportunities for agencies and providers who work with children affected by violence. Some examples of our trainings/consultations:

  • The two-day intensive training institute: "Clinical Intervention with Children Affected by Domestic Violence and other Trauma" that is offered at Boston Medical Center. This training is conducted in Boston or on-site at host agencies throughout the country.
  • A one-day training that provides an introduction and overview of Child-Parent Psychotherapy 
  • Intensive skills training on Child-Parent Psychotherapy
  • Ongoing clinical case consultation to agencies and clinicians
  • Training or presentations on early childhood trauma; the impact of exposure to domestic and/or community violence on children  

Special Projects

  • The Early Trauma Treatment Network (ETTN)/National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) (
  • In October, 2001, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration funded a national network of centers to improve the quality and availability of services for traumatized children, their families and communities throughout the United States by establishing the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). CWVP has received funding since that time as a member of the Early Trauma Treatment Network (ETTN), a unique collaboration between the University of California, San Francisco, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Tulane University Medical Center, and Boston Medical Center. The ETTN is focused on providing Child-Parent Psychotherapy, a manualized, multimodal, relationship-based treatment for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers exposed to domestic violence, child abuse, or traumatic loss. CWVP has implemented this innovative treatment approach with children aged 0–5, and their caregivers who have experienced violence and traumatic loss. Staff from the program are credentialed trainers in the model, and have disseminated a number of products related to early childhood trauma and Child-Parent Psychotherapy. 


The ETTN Boston Site Associate Director:

Carmen Rosa Noroña, LICSW, Ms.Ed, CEIS
[email protected].