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Recommendations for Cook County

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Recommendations for Cook County

Policy Recommendations — By on February 1, 2011 7:00 pm

The Taskforce has developed the following recommendations for Cook County:

1.     PUBLIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGN

The County should partner with domestic and sexual violence providers and other advocates with expertise on violence against women and girls to create a public education campaign that raises awareness of and education on the causes and effects of sexual violence against girls and young women for health care professionals and staff employed by and at the Cook County Department of Public Health and the Cook County Health & Hospitals System. In order to create an effective public education campaign and to provide a space that empowers young girls and women, we need them to lead these discussions and the public education campaign.

2.     QUALITY ASSURANCE

The County should partner with domestic and sexual violence providers and other advocates with expertise on violence against women and girls to develop an implement a realistic set of policies and/or protocols that ensure and enable the Cook County Department of Public Health and the Cook County Health & Hospitals System to respond and meet the needs of young girls and women who are survivors of dating and sexual violence.

3.     INCREASE RESOURCES FOR SURVIVORS

The County should partner with domestic and sexual violence providers and other advocates with expertise on violence against women and girls to create an initiative of the Cook County Department of Public Health and the Cook County Health & Hospitals System that acknowledges that violence against young girls and women is a health issue, thereby promoting and increasing the number of services and resources available to survivors and the potential for increased funding for and collaboration with existing organizations servicing young women and girls.

4.     EXPAND TRAININGS TO HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS

The County should increase the number and consistency of educational trainings available to health care professionals working with the Cook County Department of Public Health and the Cook County Health & Hospitals System that address how to respond and service young girls and women survivors of sexual violence.  The County should partner with domestic and sexual violence providers and other advocates with expertise on violence against women and girls to provide these trainings.

5.     COLLABORATION WITH PRIVATE HEALTH CARE INSTITUTIONS

The County should promote and encourage the participation of external private Health Care institutions that collaborate with the Cook County Department of Public Health and the Cook County Health & Hospitals System to address the issue of sexual violence against girls and young women and services/resources available.

6.     COLLABORATE WITH COMMUNITY PARTNERS

The County should strengthen relationships amongst Cook County Health & Hospitals System health care professionals and non-profits working to eliminate violence against girls and young women, such as the Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls & Young Women, and Rape Victim Advocates. We welcome and encourage providers to participate in the dialogue. Providers are willing to collaborate in helping to find solutions to these issues either through research or effective trainings.

7.     PROVIDE ADEQUATE FUNDING FOR ANTI-VIOLENCE PROGRAMS

We must interrupt the Girl Prison Pipeline by 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.

8.     ADDRESS RE-ENTRY NEEDS

We need to address the re-entry needs of formerly incarcerated girls (emergency funds, housing, employment training, counseling support). The city, county, and state need 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.

9.     JUVENILE EXPUNGEMENT

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 waive fees for filing juvenile expungement petitions.

10.    IMPLEMENT THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE YOUNG WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT PROJECT

The Young Women’s Empowerment Project (YWEP) has developed a series of recommendations based on their 2009 participatory action research project called “Girls Do What They Have To Do To Survive: Illuminating Methods used by Girls in the Sex Trade and Street Economy to Fight Back and Heal.” These include the following recommendation for Cook County Hospital and other health care providers: “Allow girls to seek medical care without an ID, without payment and without risk of being turned over to the police or foster care.”


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