Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $500,000)
The collaboration between the Rape Crisis Center (RCC) and the Summit County Juvenile Court (SCJC) to increase safety, support, and services for survivors of sexual abuse in youth detention will address the sexual abuse to prison pipeline in Summit County, Ohio through a comprehensive, trauma-informed, intersectional approach that centers the needs of the youth survivor to guarantee safety and access to evidence-based interventions during and after detention. This program will address the history of sexual abuse prior to arriving in detention, increase safety and access to resources while in detention, and implement an aftercare program to support survivors with ongoing treatment and advocacy. Expected results include increased access to services for all survivors of sexual abuse in detention, but especially the disproportionately high number of Black youth in detention; improved staff adherence to disclosure protocol; reduced revictimization and criminalization for impacted youth, and improved health outcomes for justice-involved survivors of sexual abuse.
Since 2016, the RCC and SCJC have partnered on RESTORE Court, a specialized docket for victims of human trafficking with a proven track record for successfully addressing the needs of youth involved in human trafficking. Both RCC and SCJC recognize the need to expand access to services for youth with a history of sexual assault and abuse services beyond those involve in human trafficking, as well as provide SCJC staff with enhanced training on standards for victim support when sexual abuse is disclosed. The proposed program will reach a broader subset of Summit County youth in juvenile detention, so that any youth that discloses a history of sexual abuse will receive evidence-based, trauma-informed support services, not just those involved in human trafficking.
The proposed program will utilize RCC resources to provide emotional support/crisis intervention during walk-in advocacy hours at SCJC as well as increase access to the hotline phone and chat tools for youth detainees; provide psycho-education youth groups using evidence-based curriculum for boys, girls, and gender nonconforming youth to promote healthy relationships and behaviors; work with the detention facility to develop policies and procedures to respond to youth who disclose sexual abuse; provide training to SCJC staff on the impacts of sexual assault, trauma, utilizing trauma-informed care and responding to disclosures; and provide ongoing aftercare support once the youth leaves detention. RCC recognizes the need for support services that incorporate the intersectionality of each survivor affected by sexual abuse, including gender, sexuality, age, and race, and will implement the curriculum from the One Circle Foundation and the PREA Resource Center that is sensitive to the complexity of the survivor’s life experiences. The support group model has evidence to support its efficacy and appropriateness in a juvenile justice setting that is serving primarily Black youth. This program seeks to implement the trauma-informed, evidence-based therapeutic services to address history of sexual abuse during and after detention, combined with meeting basic needs like housing, education, food, employment, in order to effectively reduce revictimization and criminalization of behaviors responding to sexual abuse, as well as to increase healthy behaviors and well-being for justice-involved survivors.