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.
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.