Jaclyn Houston-Kolnik is the manager of the Authority’s Center for Victim Studies. This center leads the Research & Analysis Unit in developing a statewide research agenda that will inform policy, practice, and funding as it relates to victimization and victim services. Jaclyn is a victimologist and received her doctorate in community psychology from DePaul University with a focus on violence against women. Her research centers on sexual assault, human trafficking, and intimate partner violence. She has experience completing program evaluations, utilizing various sophisticated statistical methodologies, and translating traditional academic research into tangible action steps for improving policy and practice. Jaclyn also has a master’s degree in community psychology from DePaul University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Azusa Pacific University.
Jaclyn Houston-Kolnik is
Manager and Victimologist for the Center for Victim Studies.
Community psychology, violence against women, sexual assault, human trafficking, and intimate partner violence.
Traumatic experiences and exposure to violence can leave a lifelong impact on an individual, especially when left untreated. Public health officials have recognized the need for comprehensive victim-centered approaches to understanding and addressing the impact of trauma. One such approach is trauma-informed care, which seeks to create a safe environment where individuals do not experience further trauma or harm in the process of receiving services and support, which may occur when providers engage in practices that are not sensitive to the impacts of trauma. This article provides an overview of trauma and traumatic stress reactions and how implementing a trauma-informed approach benefits both individuals with trauma histories and victim service providers in a multitude of settings.
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.
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.
Violent crime victimization can impact multiple areas of victims’ lives. Victims who are underserved or marginalized face unique individual, societal, and cultural hurdles that impact help-seeking. Models of service delivery that provide a single point of contact and comprehensive, evidence-based services hold promise to serve victims whose needs extend beyond traditional services. Comprehensive trauma recovery center (TRC) models have been shown to lead to positive survivor outcomes. TRC model expansion should be explored to assess how they might complement existing services and reach underserved individuals and groups.
The prevalence of trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is higher among individuals in prison and jail than in the general population. Research has shown a connection between trauma and criminality due in part to the coping mechanisms of aggression and substance misuse after a traumatic event. While the corrections environment itself may cause or exacerbate PTSD symptoms in some individuals, facilities can implement trauma-informed practices to minimize re-traumatization and reduce PTSD symptoms. This article documents the prevalence of trauma and PTSD within this population, and discusses how correctional facilities can implement trauma-informed practices and evidence-based approaches to assist individuals with trauma histories.
The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority convened an Ad Hoc Victim Services Committee in January to review research to identify crime victim needs and service gaps and measure capacity of Illinois victim service providers. The Committee then set funding priorities to address those needs, gaps, and capacity issues. The priorities were later approved by the ICJIA Board and will guide notices of funding opportunity and statewide funding decisions for the next three years.