Webinar presenter Cherice Hopkins answered a number of your questions after her presentation, From Child Welfare to the Juvenile Justice System: Disrupting the Abuse to Prison Pipeline. Here are just a few of her responses.
Audience Question: Could you restate? What does NCMEC stand for?
Cherice Hopkins: NCMEC is the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Audience Question: Could you page back a slide or 2 so that whole slide of laws that you had, and it looks like most of them had been spelled up and a couple of folks had questions about some of the acronyms that you were using on this particular slide. Folks what I’d do is I’ll Cherice stay on this slide here for the next few minutes so you can write those things down and hopefully that will answer at least several of your questions.
Cherice Hopkins: And I can point out there are 2 acronyms related to laws that aren’t on here. So the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act the acronym is JJDPA, so that’s what is commonly referred to and the other acronym that I believe that I used was not on this page but it’s the CONNECT Act and that stands for Childhood Outcomes Need New Efficient Community Teams and that’s the one I mentioned that’s been introduced by Senator Peters and Grassley so that’s not yet a law, it’s introduced legislation. And that’s the one I said would make funds available to state child welfare and juvenile justice agencies to be able to collaborate on responding to dual status youth.
Audience Question: I’ve heard a lot about a Trauma Bond. Can you explain the Trauma Bond, for those who haven’t heard about this, what is the Trauma Bond and how it plays a role with these girls from their recidivism?
Cherice Hopkins: I would say when you’re thinking of trauma bonding it can be helpful if you have an understanding of domestic violence and the bonding that occurs in domestic violence situations. There are some similarities with sex trafficking. Since we’re talking about Trauma Bond, it’s a means of control that abusers can use in domestic violence situations or sex trafficking situation where the abusive person will rotate between being nice, being friendly, maybe giving gifts but then also being mean, manipulative and cruel and so they kind of go back an forth, keeping a survivor off-balance with some fear but then also some affirmation. And just as in a domestic violence situation it can be cyclical. There’s that kindness and then the animosity and it can make it hard for survivors to leave because they don’t just see the bad. They’ve seen the “acts of kindness”, if you will. It can be similar in human trafficking situations as well.
Audience Question: Are the stats for the CSEC in the state shared only the state that you have? Are the stats for the CSEC in the state-shared the only stats that you have?
Cherice Hopkins: I’m not quite sure what information you are looking for. But if the question is are the stats in this presentation the only stats that we have. Well, we do have some other statistics regarding juvenile justice involvement, sexual exploitation and some on child welfare. So, I say generally we do have more stats, definitely not all the stats that we have are in this presentation but I’m not quite sure about the specifics that you were thinking. So if you want to email me and clarify, then if we have additional specific information, I can share that with you.
Audience Question: Is there some website that they can go to learn more information about the JJDPA Grants available?
Cherice Hopkins: Yes, if you need specific information – let me give you 2 sources. There’s a website called Act4JJ, it’s a coalition that worked to get the JJDPA passed. So they definitely have lots fact sheets about the different changes to the JJDPA including some of the grant pieces. But the other thing that I would say is I would check with the Coalition for Juvenile Justice because it’s my understanding that states have what you call State Advisory Groups or SAGs who kind of take a look at how things are going to be distributed in their state so I would also reach out to the coalition for Juvenile Justice. They could probably get you in touch with your SAG to learn more.
Audience Question: Cherice you talked about the sexual assault of all minor children are girls and how’s there’s a difference among the different states on how they address these things, how they word these things, etc. Question is, Cherice, what’s the role of child marriage and allowing children to be married in this world of sexual assault of girls. How does that play into this?
Cherice Hopkins: That’s also a great question because child marriage is definitely a form of violence, particularly sexual violence because by the time these girls are forced to marry then they want to have sex with them. Let me start by saying child marriage definitely happens in the United States. There’s been some articles the past few months that has some great information. Typically when you look at the data as who it is, it’s typically adult men, oftentimes very, very, grown men and it’s girls under the age of 18 and so you have situations where a man essentially sexually assaulted a child, statutory rape and then her issue’s also a girl who had been experiencing some trauma at the time, and then her parents forced to marry this man. So I say that the role it plays when we’re talking about would it be a different form of violence that girls are encountering. Child marriage is definitely one and it fits a lot of these dynamics, because again, it’s adult men, girls under the age of 18, so minors predominantly. When you’re looking at girls that’s crazy, that they can get married but yet they legally don’t often have the standing to get divorced. Their husbands are exercising control over them because they’re still children. Oftentimes they’re getting pregnant and having kids at very young ages an so when we talk those outcomes of not being able to get a job, of disrupted education, that definitely comes into play with child marriages as well.
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