The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority was awarded a grant from the Office for Victims of Crime for the Illinois Helping Everyone Access Linked Systems (Illinois HEALS) initiative. The six-year initiative seeks to improve the identification, connection, and service engagement of children, youth, and families impacted by violence in Illinois. Researchers analyzed documents and artifacts from series of 29 meetings for the Illinois HEALS initiative with representatives from several service domains (i.e., child welfare, education, healthcare, family and civil court, justice, social services, and victim services) in Illinois. Findings suggest that providers throughout the state are facing challenges in recognizing victimization experiences of children and youth, connecting young persons to appropriate and accessible resources, and engaging them in meaningful services. This article presents recommendations that explore strategies to build capacity in recognizing signs of victimization, broadening screening and assessment practices, supporting the well-being of staff, and fostering collaborations.
The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority was awarded a grant from the Office for Victims of Crime for the Illinois Helping Everyone Access Linked Systems (Illinois HEALS) initiative. The six-year initiative seeks to improve the recognition, connection, and service engagement of children, youth, and families impacted by violence in Illinois. Illinois HEALS program staff surveyed agencies in Illinois serving children, youth, and families to better understand how they learn about client victimization and exposure to violence, services available to victims, and referral and collaboration processes. Survey findings revealed service providers use varying methods to learn about clients’ victimization, such as screening and assessment tools, and strategies for sharing information within and across agencies and systems, including collaboration networks and multidisciplinary teams. While many providers offer services to children and/or adults, victim-focused services are often not available for family members. Recommendations for how agencies can work to improve harm recognition, service connections, and service engagement are discussed.
Project Safe Neighborhoods is a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to support prosecutor-led development of local, tailored initiatives to reduce gun and gang violence. In partnership with the Office of the U.S. Attorney’s Central Illinois District’s Project Safe Neighborhoods team, ICJIA conducted a survey of police and sheriff departments in Illinois’ Central region on violent crime. The survey included questions on characteristics of violent crime, involvement of guns and gangs in violent crime, and law enforcement efforts to reduce violent crime. Responses indicated domestic violence was the most prominent violent crime in the region and that gun and gang violence were concentrated in a small number of jurisdictions. Additionally, law enforcement respondents indicated they employed a variety of strategies to reduce violent crime, including focused deterrence, “hot spots,” and street stop approaches.