October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Rights4Girls is one of the organizations at the forefront of ensuring that domestic violence is prevented, focusing particularly on the impact that family violence has for girls.
Back on the Justice Clearinghouse are Cherice Hopkins and Rebecca Burney from Rights4Girls. Rights4Girls is a human rights organization committed to ending gender-based violence in the U.S. Cherice is a Staff Attorney with Rights4Girls, her work includes policy analysis and reform, research, and education focused on identifying and addressing the problems which hinder gender and racial equality. Meanwhile, Rebecca is an attorney and the Youth Advocacy Coordinator, focusing on the intersection of female sexual abuse and juvenile justice system involvement with experience working and supporting survivors of sexual abuse.
Topics they unpacked on this session are:
- An overview and history of girls’ involvement in the justice system, and how the system failed girls.
- The concept of net widening as one of the reasons why girls are driven into the system.
- The Abuse to Prison Pipeline and the four pathways girls take into the juvenile justice system.
- A deeper look at the pathways to the juvenile justice system that family violence paves for girls.
- Behavior that the girls demonstrate as a way to cope with trauma from violence but are criminalized as status offenses.
- Crossover from the child welfare system due to maltreatment or neglect at home and inappropriately-addressed trauma.
- Violence in the household where girls are being arrested for merely defending themselves or their loved ones from violence at home.
- Poverty and homelessness that stems from girls wanting to runway from the violence at home leading them to engage in criminal behavior to meet their needs.
- Involvement in familial sex trafficking where girls are being trafficked by their caregivers and family members.
- The experience of girls where:
- They are not provided with the tools and resources to cope with trauma and are further traumatized.
- They have a disproportionate experience of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
- They enter the system with mental health issues, suicide ideation, and history of self-harm.
- They recently experienced sexual assault and is coping with its trauma.
- Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
- The study and its initial conclusions that correlate specific experiences to negative outcomes in adulthood.
- ACEs that are experienced by girls at a higher rate, and implications of high ACE scores to girls.
- Updated findings that indicated how childhood exposure to ACEs not only impacts the individual as an adult but also while they are still a youth.
- How we are failing girls through the vicious cycle they are subjected into where they are re-victimized and re-traumatized and resorting to destructive behavior due to the inability to provide them with a trauma-informed response.
- What individuals, communities, and the involved agencies and systems can do to empower, advocate for, and prevent girls from getting into the abuse to prison pipeline.
Questions from the audience were about:
- The definition and inclusion of the term ‘girls’ and ‘girls of color’.
- States that still permit children under 18 to be charged for prostitution.
- The child’s first involvement in terms of the cross-over/dual jacketed youth.
- Factors that can mitigate recidivism and being pulled deeper into the system.
- The ACE study’s methodology.
Other Webinars in this Series:
- Intersectionality and Reducing Girls Justice System Environment
- June 23: Combating Domestic Child Sex Trafficking: A Multi-Disciplinary Response
- Aug 12: Asking the Right Questions: Collaborative Approaches and Strategies to Identify and Serve Child Sex Trafficking Survivors
- Oct 6: Family Violence and Abuse to Prison Pipeline for Girls (this webinar)
Resources and Handouts
- The Juvenile Justice System and Domestic Child Sex Trafficking
- Girls’ Experiences Prior to Justice Involvement
- The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline
- The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline: The Girls’ Story
- I Am the Voice: Girls’ Reflections from the Inside the Justice System
- Protected Innocence Challenge National State Law Surveys – Shared Hope International
- Shared Hope International Protected Innocence Challenge Toolkit
- The information in general was valuable. — Victor
- I really liked the diving in about the different reasons in girls life to be victimized and even criminalized — Zoe
- The presenters and facilitators were very engaging. Great energy! — Valeria
- “What eye-opening information that was shared! Those statistics about the youths in the Juv Justice Sys having experienced one or more ACEs really kind of hit the nail on the head. …”– Michelle
- “I enjoyed learning about how involvement in the child welfare system was a precursor for involvement in the prison pipeline.” — Maribel
- “Being an advocate that works with victims of Domestic Violence, it was very impactful to hear how family violence is one of the leading trauma’s girls are dealing with when they are introduced to the judicial system.” — Melissa
- “All of the presentation had very good information some of which was new to me. Great job!” — Lorena
- “Excellent information about the pipeline for girls and explanation of the challenges and barriers of girls/women disproportionately impacted while navigating “systems” as victims who criminalize their cry for help! Great presentation!” — Jeri