Thursday, June 27, 2024

NCDPS, DHHS Publish North Carolina Violence Prevention Timeline Snapshot highlights whole-of-government collaboration as Siarra Scott steps up to lead the state’s Office of Violence Prevention

Raleigh, N.C.
Jun 27, 2024

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety and the Department of Health and Human Services today released a timeline of violence prevention initiatives that reflect the whole-of-government partnership launched last year with the formation of the state’s first Office of Violence Prevention.

“We must continue to work to make our communities safer and reduce crime by investing in the programs and interventions proven to work,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. “Last year we launched the Office of Violence Prevention to foster collaboration between public health and law enforcement professionals across North Carolina to reduce violence and make our communities safer.”

Siarra Scott was named this week as acting director of the office, which brings together law enforcement, public health officials, community groups and other state and local partners to apply a public health approach to violence prevention. It’s an approach endorsed by a new advisory from the U.S. Surgeon General and adopted by a growing network of local Offices of Violence Prevention springing up in communities across the state.  

“June is National Gun Violence Awareness Month, and we know that from 2019 to 2021, children in North Carolina were more likely to die as a result of firearm misuse than a car accident,” said Acting Director Scott. “I’m honored to partner with leaders across the state who are looking for new ways to ensure the safety and health of our communities.” 

Gov. Cooper created the Office of Violence Prevention through Executive Order 279. The office is a partnership between the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Health and Human Services. 

“Law enforcement and public safety officials cannot walk this path alone,” said N.C. Public Safety Secretary Eddie M. Buffaloe Jr. “Our partnership with DHHS is helping the state identify the root causes of violence in our communities and plan an effective response that leverages criminal justice, healthcare, social services and economic resources.”

“Violence and poor health outcomes are fundamentally driven by many of the same factors — lack of food, transportation, housing, and other basic needs,” said N.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. “Working together we can save lives by ensuring all North Carolinians have access to healthcare, social services and other critical resources. Using a data-driven approach and collaborating on strategies that work, we are increasing firearm storage options and improving access to critical resources, including mental health and substance use-disorder services.”

The report highlights 2023 and 2024 accomplishments that include: 

  • Establishing the Office of Violence Prevention and a 24-member Community Violence Advisory Board through Executive Order 279.
  • Launching and growing  NC S.A.F.E., a public awareness campaign that promotes safe storage of firearms. Efforts include the distribution of almost 50,000 firearm storage devices to North Carolinians. 
  • Leveraging federal funding to support hospital and community-based violence intervention programs and working to extend Medicaid funding to cover violence interruption services. 
  • Partnering with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to revive federal Project Safe Neighborhood funding for violence prevention. 
  • Improving access to healthcare for more than 600,000 North Carolinians through Medicaid expansion.
  • Collaborating across state agencies to provide re-entry services for formerly incarcerated people, as established by Executive Order No. 303, directing whole-of-government coordination of services.
  • Advancing suicide prevention initiatives, including collaboration with local firearm safety teams, suicide prevention teams and faith leaders.

To learn more about the partnerships that are helping North Carolina develop a comprehensive response to violence, view the timeline of North Carolina Violence Prevention Activities. 

About the N. C. Office of Violence Prevention

The Office of Violence Prevention supports a public health approach to the reduction of violence and firearm misuse in North Carolina. Established within the Department of Public Safety by Gov. Roy Cooper in 2023 and working in partnership with the N. C. Department of Health and Human Services, the office serves as a centralized resource for organizations working to reduce gun violence and address its impact on N.C. communities. For more information, visit