Provider-Reported Challenges & Opportunities in Supporting Young Victims of Crime

Published: October, 2019

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.