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Category Archives: Data

New Data About Teen Relationship Abuse…

Every couple of years, we update our fact sheet on teen dating violence and forced sex when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Adolescent and School Health releases their national, state, and local Youth Risk Behavior Survey results. This survey includes a lot of key information that is relevant to those who work with youth in Chicago and Illinois.

Full 2013 survey results can be found here.

Our updated 2013 fact sheet about teen relationship violence and forced sex can be downloaded HERE (PDF).

For the first time, the YRBS has broken out the dating violence questions into physical and sexual dating violence. This is distinct from the forced sexual intercourse question.

Physical Dating Violence
Among the 73.9% of students nationwide who dated or went out with someone during the 12 months before the survey, 10.3% had been hit, slammed into something, or injured with an object or weapon on purpose by someone they were dating or going out with one or more times during the 12 months before the survey (i.e., physical dating violence).

The prevalence of physical dating violence was higher among female (13.0%) than male (7.4%) students.

The prevalence of physical dating violence was higher among Hispanic (10.4%) and Black (10.3%) than white (9.7%) students; and higher among white female (12.9%), black female (12.3%), and Hispanic female (13.6%) than white male (6.4%), black male (8.2%), and Hispanic male (7.0%) students, respectively.

Across 38 states, the prevalence of physical dating violence ranged from 7.0% to 14.8% (median: 9.6%). Across 20 large urban school districts, the prevalence ranged from 7.4% to 16.8% (median: 9.4%).

Sexual Dating Violence
Among the 73.9% of students nationwide who dated or went out with someone during the 12 months before the survey, 10.4% of students had been kissed, touched, or physically forced to have sexual intercourse when they did not want to by someone they were dating or going out with one or more times during the 12 months before the survey (i.e., sexual dating violence).

The prevalence of sexual dating violence was higher among female (14.4%) than male (6.2%) students.

The prevalence of sexual dating violence was higher among Hispanic (11.5%) and white (9.8%) than Black (8.9%) students; and higher among white female (14.6%) and Hispanic female (16.0%) than white male (4.8%) and Hispanic male (6.7%) students, respectively;

The prevalence of sexual dating violence was higher among white female (14.6%) and Hispanic female (16.0%) than black female (8.8%) students and higher among black male (8.9%) than white male (4.8%) and Hispanic male (6.7%) students.

Across 31 states, the prevalence of sexual dating violence ranged from 7.8% to 13.8% (median: 10.5%). Across 17 large urban school districts, the prevalence ranged from 8.0% to 13.0% (median: 9.9%).

Read the fact sheet HERE (PDF) to get information specific to Illinois and Chicago.

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Posted by on July 24, 2014 in Data, Resources, Sexual assault, Violence

 

Fact Sheet: Teen Dating Violence and Forced Sex in Illinois & Chicago, 2011

Last summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Adolescent and School Health released the 2011 national, state, and local Youth Risk Behavior Survey results. This survey includes a lot of key information that would be relevant to those who work with youth in Chicago and Illinois.

You can find the full results here.

Mariame has compiled an updated fact sheet about teen dating violence and forced sex in Illinois and Chicago. You can download the fact sheet HERE.

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2013 in Data, Sexual assault, Violence

 

New data on electronic aggression

The Cyberbullying Research Center has posted the results of new research showing alarming rates of electronic dating violence — “emotional or psychological harm in a romantic relationship perpetrated through the use of computers, cell phones, or other electronic devices.”
Although the data is from the southern US, and not Chicago, the statistics are worth noting:

10% of youth said a romantic partner has prevented them from using a computer or cell phone.

• 6% of boys and girls say their romantic partner posted something publicly online to make fun of, threaten, or embarrass them.

• 10.4% of boys and 9.8% of girls said they received a threatening cell phone message from their romantic partner.

• 5.4% of boys and 3.4% of girls said their romantic partner uploaded or shared a humiliating of harassing picture of them online or through their cell phone

You can read more here.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2010 in Bullying, Data

 

Cook County hearings: testimony of Taskforce co-founder, Mariame Kaba

Mariame Kaba, co-founder of the Taskforce and Founding Executive Director of Project NIA, offered testimony about issues impacting incarcerated girls. This outline of her testimony provides information as to the issues impacting incarcerated girls, as well as initial recommendations to the County.

At last count, Illinois was spending over $80,000 to incarcerate one youth per year.  About 10,000 girls 10 to 16 years old are arrested every year in Illinois which amounts to about 20 to 22 percent of all of the arrests of the state.  Girls are mostly arrested for nonviolent offenses. Girls are being incarcerated more often for trivial offenses such as:

  • Technical violation of probation/parole
  • Status offenses (truancy, runaway, incorrigibility)
  • Larceny theft (shoplifting)
  • Traffic offenses
  • Drug offenses

About 30% of arrests of girls in Illinois are for violent offenses mostly aggravated battery.  Many of these arrests take place on school grounds.  On any given day in Illinois, we can find about 100 young women incarcerated at youth prisons and about 25-50 at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.
Incarcerated Girls in Chicago and Illinois are:

  • Likely to have run away from home – A 2004 study found that 8 out of 10 incarcerated girls had run away from home.
  • More likely to suffer from tremendous emotional trauma (depression, anxiety disorders).  Girls receive this diagnosis more frequently than boys.
  • Abuse and Neglect Histories (The Girl Prison Pipeline): Likely to have suffered from physical and sexual abuse prior to incarceration.  Compared to boys, girls experience more sexual victimization overall, including sexual assaults, rapes, and sexual harassment.  All types of maltreatment can increase the risks for both sexes.
  • Likely to suffer sexual abuse while in custody.

Health Issues of Girls In Trouble with the Law

  • Suicide behavior is about 2.5 times greater than the general population.
  • Substance abuse is high (mainly marijuana use)
  • STDs, unplanned pregnancies, and dental problems.

Protective Factors

  • Support from a caring adult.
  • School Success
  • Religiosity

Recommendations
Over the past 5 years, many improvements have been made at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.  This is in large part due to the Court Advocates Group that was convened by the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group in 2002 and continues to this day.  One major change came with the hiring in March 2009 of a director for a newly established Office of Gender Responsive Programming.
Other improvements include:

  1. The establishment of the W.I.N.G.S.  Center (Working in Nurturing Girls Success) at the JTDC.  This center serves to house girls and provide them with gender responsive services.
  2. The establishment of a better system for distributing personal hygiene items.
  3. A concerted effort to reach out to the community to provide more gender-specific programming to girls on the inside.

As such, what I want to focus on today on some recommendations that focus on the prevention side and the post-incarceration or re-entry needs for girls in trouble with the law.

  1. Prevention – We need to address the Girl Prison Pipeline and to do that we need to do a much better job of addressing the trauma that girls face BEFORE they come into contact with the system.  Keep them out of the system since we know the incarceration DOES NOT WORK.  It is a pathway to future involvement in the adult criminal legal system.  This means providing ADEQUATE RESOURCES for anti-violence programs in schools and community settings.
  2. We need county backing for keeping youth OUT of the Juvenile Justice System by providing funding and support for restorative justice programs and other alternatives to incarceration.
  3. We need help and support to address the re-entry needs of formerly incarcerated girls (emergency funds, housing, employment training, counseling support).
  4. The County needs to develop a pool of resources specifically dedicated to the re-entry needs of all formerly incarcerated youth.  The County can begin by providing community-based organizations with access to FREE SPACE to create a centrally-located re-entry drop in center for youth in trouble with the law.  This can allow us to address the recidivism issue.
  5. The County needs to make it easier and cheaper for young women to expunge their juvenile criminal records.  One way to do this is to revert back to the 2009 fee structure for filing juvenile expungement petitions.

The Chicago Taskforce on Violence against Girls will be developing a series of other recommendations in the near future.  However these recommendations that I have shared today can be implemented immediately by the County.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2010 in Data, Incarceration, Public policy

 

Cook County hearings: testimony of Taskforce co-founder, Melissa Spatz

On October 21, the Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues held hearings about girls’ health and well-being.  Three Taskforce representatives testified, and we want to share our presentations with you.  Here is the first, from Melissa Spatz, co-founder of the Taskforce:

The Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls and Young Women was founded in 2009 to develop a comprehensive, citywide approach to ending violence against girls and young women. Today I want to speak about the reality of violence in girls’ lives, and the need to develop services that recognize and respond to that reality.

Girls in Cook County are facing an epidemic of violence, putting their day to day health and well-being in jeopardy. The latest data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBS), based on interviews with high school students about their health risk behaviors, is astounding. In 2009, 18.9% of Chicago high school girls reported they had been hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend. Among African American girls, a staggering 22.6% reported experiencing teen dating violence. 8.7% of girls reported they had been forced to have sexual intercourse. These statistics are even higher than those we reported in the Status of Girls report last year – a worrisome trend.

We know that girls in Cook County are experiencing violence in many different aspects of their lives. Certainly, schools are one site of violence. In the 2007 YRBS, as we reported in the Status of Girls in Illinois report, 11.7% of girls reported that they had been harassed at school because someone thought they were gay, lesbian or bisexual. Girls may also face their abusive partners in class, making school an unsafe place for young women. Violence in schools is so significant a problem that, according to the 2007 YRBS, more than 1 in 10 Chicago girls had skipped school due to safety concerns.

School, of course, is not the only site in which violence takes place. Research by the youth-led Rogers Park Young Women’s Action Team (YWAT) has drawn attention to the fact that girls experience violence on the street in the form of harassment. And girls may, of course, experience violence in their homes, at the hand of family members. We have to broaden our view to understand that nearly every aspect of girls’ lives presents risks to their health and safety. Our responses, then, need to be coordinated and comprehensive.

Although we know that girls are resilient and able to find ways to survive and even thrive when given opportunities, it is also the case that by virtue of their age, they lack power in the very institutions in which they experience violence. It is incumbent upon us, then, to create safe spaces and support systems in multiple institutions. We need to financially support external programs that make a difference in girls’ lives, by providing counseling, education, support and leadership development. And we need to ensure that we are establishing programs within our schools, hospitals, and other institutions, that support girls’ safety, well-being and recovery from violence.

Unfortunately, we are far from having this comprehensive system of support for young women. In their 2007 assessment, the Mayors’ Office on Domestic Violence reported that of the 40 domestic violence agencies they surveyed, 22 provided counseling services to young women. Over an entire year, only 396 youth survivors received counseling through these programs – a drop in the bucket considering the number of youth survivors in our city. Not a single program offered abusers’ services to young men who committed violence. Nor are shelter beds available to girls, who are often desperately in need of temporary safe space.

Beyond this fact, though, we need to develop solutions that work for youth. We all know that girls are experiencing violence. But for too long, we have developed our approaches to ending violence against girls based on an understanding of adult women’s experiences and needs. The solutions that we offer violence survivors – for example, domestic violence hotlines, or the opportunity to go to court to obtain protective orders – are not solutions that youth can or will access. When YWAT surveyed youth in 2004 to ask who they turn to in cases of dating violence, they found that they were “least likely to call a dating/domestic violence hotline for advice; only 12% probably or definitely would do that.” Less than one quarter of youth would consider turning to the court system for help. The assessment by the Mayors’ Office confirms this fact, suggesting that teens are wary of seeking orders of protection, a central component of the system’s response for adult survivors.

Therefore, simply establishing programs is not enough. We have to identify the key aspects of programs that make a difference, and incorporate those factors into our solutions for young women.

So what type of support do girls need if they experience violence? The Taskforce has asked representatives of dozens of agencies across the County, both adults and youth, what factors make support services for young women effective, and here is what we have heard. First, it is important that programs engage youth as leaders, peer educators and supporters to survivors of violence. If we ask young people what they seek in terms of support, the number one answer is that they want to speak with their peers. Young people are, not surprisingly, more comfortable talking with other youth about problems they are facing. We need to engage youth, working in partnership with experienced adult allies, to provide a safe and supportive environment. We must create opportunities for youth to help shape the programs we create.

In January, the Taskforce will be releasing papers written by 2 local programs that show positive evaluations in their work to engage youth as peer educators – the Girl / Friends Summer Institute in North Lawndale, which uses art as a way to engage young people in sexual assault prevention; and the Young Women’s Empowerment Project, a program run by young women who are impacted by the sex trade. I urge you, also, to read the YWEP report on girls’ resilience and the issues impacting girls in the sex trade. These groups, and others that we wrote about in the Status of Girls report, serve as examples of programs that engage young women as leaders in making the County safer for girls. We must support such programs.

Agencies also identified a need for programming that addresses the most marginalized girls and young women. A cookie cutter approach won’t work for all girls. Approaches need to be culturally sensitive, and approaches are needed for the unique needs of LGBTQ youth, immigrant youth, incarcerated youth, youth with disabilities, and so on.

Agencies identified a need for safe space for girls. This means, first, a safe space in which girls can access counseling, without peer pressure or the fear of exposure to other young people. We must build support for youth within communities, in places where they feel safe and supported, such as community centers. It also means, though, shelter when girls need a temporary place to stay, something that the system simply does not provide at this time.

And agencies continued to identify a need for peer-led education, both for young women and for young men, in creating a culture free of violence. A third article that we will be releasing in January, by a Loyola researcher named Brenda Arsenault, shows that beginning such education in middle school makes it even more effective.

The Taskforce has brought together stakeholders from across Cook County for Roundtable discussions throughout 2010, to determine what is needed to reduce the levels of violence that girls experience. Through this work, we have begun to identify specific policy recommendations based on these approaches. Today, you’ll be hearing about some initial findings related to the Cook County Bureau of Health Services, from Claudia Garcia Rojas; and Mariame Kaba will be sharing insights as to girls in Juvenile Detention, from her extensive work with Project NIA,which she founded and directs, and the Taskforce, which she and I co-founded.

In January 2011, the Taskforce will be releasing a comprehensive report, and we would like to meet with you then, to discuss our findings and our full recommendations for the county. We are also hoping that, as with the Status of Girls report, you can help us disseminate the report by drawing attention to it online. We look forward to working together with you to build girls’ safety throughout the County.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2010 in Data, Public policy