Amanda L. Vasquez is a research analyst with the Authority’s Center for Victim Studies. Amanda received her master’s degree in criminology, law, and justice, and a bachelor’s degree in applied psychology and criminal justice from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She is currently finishing her doctorate in criminology, law, and justice, also from UIC, with a concentration in gender and women studies. Amanda is particularly interested in issues related to violence against women, particularly sex trafficking, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence. Her dissertation focuses on the intersection of sexual assault and sex trafficking.
Amanda L. Vasquez is
Violence against women, sexual assault, sex trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation of children, and intimate partner violence
The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority was awarded a Linking Systems of Care for Children and Youth Demonstration grant from the Office for Victims of Crime. This six-year initiative seeks to improve the identification, connection, and service engagement of children, youth, and families impacted by violence in Illinois. Informed by a 15-month planning process, the Illinois HEALS Action Plan will guide the future work of the project to implement policies, practices, and programs that strengthen the capacity of Illinois’ communities to recognize when victimization has occurred and connect and engage young victims and families in needed services.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) individuals are at increased risk for experiencing violence and the negative impacts associated with violence, including stress, PTSD symptoms and injury. LGBTQ+ victims are an underserved
victim population in Illinois despite these increased risks. Individuals from underserved victim groups, such as people of color, those who identify as LGBTQ+, or those who are homeless are less likely to seek, access, or receive services following
victimization. This article will explore how victimization and help-seeking experiences of LGBTQ+ victims in Illinois differ from those of non-LGBTQ+ victims, and how experiences may
vary based on a victim’s LGB identity (i.e., lesbian/gay versus bisexual). It concludes with implications for policy and practice and suggestions for how to improve victim service delivery
for LGBTQ+ victims and highlights areas for further research to inform how the state can better meet the needs of underserved victim populations.
Researchers conducted a statewide study to better understand crime victim needs, identify service gaps, and measure the capacity of Illinois victim service providers. This report focuses on how victim service providers from across Illinois discussed their service delivery and capacity to meet victim need. Study findings have policy and practice implications for funders, victim service providers, and other service agencies that interact with victims in Illinois.
Media—in particular news coverage—contribute toward shaping public understanding and opinion on societal issues, and influence policies, programs, and legislative action. While a small number of previous studies have explored journalists’ reporting on other social issues, very little is known about their perceptions and knowledge of human trafficking. In this exploratory study, researchers conducted 12 qualitative interviews with Illinois newspaper reporters to examine their understanding and work process in covering human trafficking. The results suggest that while many reporters understand the federal definition of trafficking, there remain gaps in knowledge about the complexity of the issue. Furthermore, the work process that reporters follow to report on human trafficking differs by their particular role and level of experience, with investigative stories on human trafficking being covered by more seasoned reporters who have the time and space to explore the issue in greater depth. The study findings highlight the importance of, and constraints upon, comprehensive news coverage on human trafficking.
Illinois victims and victim service providers indicate that legal services are needed post-victimization, and for many victims in the state this need is left unmet. Meeting a victim’s legal needs is key to ensuring their safety and security and enabling them to continue to recover from their victimization experience. Crime victims can directly benefit from access to comprehensive legal services, including legal advocacy, civil legal services and victim rights enforcement. Numerous legal avenues are open to victims of crime, and legal advocates and attorneys are well-positioned to assist victims as they engage either the criminal justice or civil legal systems. This article explores types of victim legal services, the roles of legal service providers, the needs and potential remedies available to victims by crime type, and barriers to legal service access and delivery. Implications for both providers and funders to ensure comprehensive legal services to victims of crime also are discussed.
Researchers conducted a statewide study to better understand crime victim needs, identify service gaps, and measure the capacity of Illinois victim service providers. Victim service providers from across Illinois identified the needs of violent crime victims. Providers also highlighted service gaps, or ways in which current service availability was unable to satisfy victim need. Study findings have policy and practice implications for funders, victim service providers, and other service agencies that interact with victims in Illinois.