Connect with us
Advertisement

Justice

Will Trump’s Executive Order Stop the Cycle of Violence or Further Damage Hurting Communities

blank

Published

on

On February 9, 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order stating the purpose of the order would help reduce and prevent crime within our “inner cities.” Among the host of things the order calls for, it primarily allocates more power to police officers and more supports to protect law enforcement. In its present form, the order lacks any explicit support for the citizens of these communities, nor does it provide any protection for children who have witnessed violence and continue to live in violent environments within these communities.

President Trump states, “we will protect all Americans,” however his order in its current status is silent on how to help our most vulnerable children heal. The lack of public discourse around the emotional health of children who live in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty suggests that there is no relationship to poverty, children’s mental health, crime, and negative adult outcomes Yet, in 2009 the Department of Justice reported, “Children exposed to violence are also at a higher risk of engaging in criminal behavior later in life and becoming part of a cycle of violence.”

Research has found that the current funding stream does not produce successful outcomes. Incarcerating children in juvenile justice programs, or in psychiatry wards, increases the probability of costly adulthood behavior. “Zero Tolerance” policies in schools have created a “school to prison pipeline” resulting in approximately 68% of males in state and federal prison not having graduated high school.  These children are better served in community mental health programs.

Children living in poverty suffer more, and have fewer resources to build resilience to traumatic experiences. Researchers Evans and Cassells state, “The economic and human costs of early childhood poverty are immense, ranging from dramatic achievement gaps and elevated psychological distress to greater morbidity for every major chronic physical disease, eventually resulting in premature mortality.” Mental Health is listed as the 4th most expensive chronic disease in our country.

Affected populations are not isolated to childhood; related behavioral challenges evolve along with children as they age and include outcomes such as incarceration, psychiatric related hospitalizations, and unemployment. These outcomes have the power to destroy communities through the erosion of individual self-worth, and the demoralization of hope. Indeed, the National Institute of Health reports there is a positive connection between suffering a traumatic life event in childhood and the likelihood of developing a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression later in life.

Whereas Trump’s Executive Order focuses primarily on strengthening law enforcement as a way of preventing crimes, it’s important to highlight a central component of the Affordable Care Act.  “ACA” defines Population health as, “Preventing problems before they occur reduces human suffering and preempts costly punitive responses to these problems from education, law enforcement, child welfare, mental health, or juvenile justice system.”

Increasing reimbursement opportunities for population health initiatives has driven mental health professionals, educators, and medical professionals to develop preventive and early intervention services to children, which directly address issues early in their evolution rather than seeking to control their later manifestations. Prevention and early intervention services do that work of decreasing and in some cases curing the problem before it takes root.

If we are to improve the lives of children living in areas of concentrated poverty we cannot take this approach. One child witnessing or being victimized by community violence is enough to warrant actions. All children deserve the chance to live healthy and productive lives.

The development of future generations is reliant upon an inclusive care based approach rather than an exclusive, penalizing reality. This task is a moral one for our new administration, and the question is will they meet it?

Rori Crosson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over ten years of experience providing mental health services in community based mental health centers. Her focuses have spanned specializations in criminal justice involved patients to early episode psychosis interventions; all of which have edified her evolving view on the necessity of strong, community based, social work support networks.

Click to comment

Global

Scottish Survivor Groups Encourage All Survivors of Abuse in Care to Take Part in a Milestone Consultation

blank

Published

on

Survivor groups in Scotland have called on all survivors of abuse in care to take part in an important consultation, allowing individuals to share their views on a possible financial redress scheme for the first time.

The consultation has been developed and delivered through a collaboration between a range of partners including survivor representatives (Interaction Action Plan Review Group) and CELCIS (the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland).

With just four weeks left to the deadline of Friday 17 November to complete the consultation, survivor groups have spoken out about the need for all survivors of abuse in care to take part.

David Whelan, spokesperson from Former Boys and Girls Abused in Quarriers group (FBGA), commented: “This redress and compensation consultation gives everyone who has experienced abuse in the care system in Scotland an opportunity to share their views. The consultation offers real choices to the individual and survivor groups as to what it is they would like in any proposed redress-consultation scheme. It allows all survivors a chance to have their voices and opinions heard.  We would encourage as many survivors as possible to take part over the next month.

“Former Boys and Girls Abused in Quarriers group fully support this consultation which was put together in a partnership with other victims-survivors, the Scottish Human Rights Commission, CELCIS, The Scottish Government and others.”

Judith Robertson, Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, said: “Anyone who has been subjected to abuse has a human right to access justice and to an effective and fair remedy. Everyone has the right to live and be treated with dignity.  The Scottish Human Rights Commission welcomes the consultation by the InterAction Review Group and CELCIS on financial redress for historic abuse.  It is a crucial part of developing Scotland’s Action Plan on Historic Abuse and we encourage anyone who is themselves a survivor of childhood abuse to take part.”

Joanne McMeeking, Head of Improving Care Experiences at CELCIS, said: “We are in the final month of the consultation process, which is a milestone in terms of seeking justice for survivors of abuse in care in Scotland. Completing this consultation questionnaire gives survivors a way to have their views about potential financial redress seen and heard.”

Taking part

The consultation is open to all victims/survivors of historical abuse in care as defined by the Terms of Reference of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry and is available online.

Continue Reading

Human Rights

Rescuing Sex Trafficking Victims

blank

Published

on

Lois Lee, Ph.D., J.D. – Founder of Children of the Night Photo Credit: CalState

Forty years ago, it wasn’t unusual to find Lois Lee, Ph.D., J.D. wandering the streets and alleys of Los Angeles at 3 a.m.; she even did so while pregnant with her son.

Dr. Lee was looking for victims of sex trafficking and those who exploited them.

Walking miles along Sunset, Santa Monica and Hollywood Boulevards, the then-24-year-old would hand out business cards with her hotline number, encouraging victims to call and letting them know what kind of help they’d find.

“These are girls, boys and transgender children that would fall between the cracks of the system,” remembers Lee. “They had nowhere to go — no one was providing a bed or a school or offering to take care of these kids.”

So, she created that place.

From 1979 to 1981, Lee housed more than 250 sex trafficking victims in her own home, all while building the Children of the Night outreach program; the privately funded nonprofit organization would become unlike any other in existence at the time, or even today, rescuing children from child prostitution and providing housing, education and treatment.

But perhaps most important, Lee gave them hope.

An Unimaginable Life

Lee was raised in Los Angeles, the eldest child in a family of three girls. It was a childhood she describes as healthy, safe and sheltered.

So when, as a graduate student at California State University, Dominguez Hills, her faculty mentor Jeanne Curran, PhD., then a professor of sociology, introduced her to the underworld of sex trafficking, it was a wake-up call.

“I wanted to make everything better because I just couldn’t imagine someone living in these types of conditions,” explains Lee, who graduated from CSU Dominguez Hills with a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science in 1973 and a master’s in sociology in 1977.

It was at CSUDH that she developed the skills she’d later use to address child sex trafficking. Lee also taught courses at the campus’s Social Systems Research Center, then led by Dr. Curran. The center has since been renamed the Urban Community Research Center.

“Jeanne became a mentor for me, both on- and off-campus. She influenced my life and academic choices so much,” says Lee, a first-generation college student.

“She and CSU Dominguez Hills empowered me.”

Victims, Not Criminals

Late one night in 1977, Lee received a call from a woman who operated an escort service. A 17-year-old she worked with had not returned and she was unable to contact her.

Afraid, she had called Lee for guidance. Lee went to the police, who dismissed the call and refused to help. The next morning, the girl’s body was found; she had become one of the Hillside Stranglers’victims.

Frustrated by the lack of resources that were available to these girls, Lee appeared on an L.A. news broadcast, giving out her personal phone number and encouraging prostitutes with knowledge of the case to reach out to her directly. She promised confidentiality.

“I coordinated everything just as I had learned from Jeanne at CSU Dominguez Hills,” Lee recalls. “And that was really the beginning of my work.”

Lee would go on to play a critical role in the Hillside Strangler trial, testifying in the case and coordinating witnesses for the prosecution.

At just 27, Lee garnered attention when she sued the Los Angeles Police Department for prosecuting underage prostitutes while letting their customers go free.

She won the case and has gone on to file a number of other lawsuits.

“I taught vice detectives nationwide that there were children prostituting and they needed to be treated differently,” says the President’s Volunteer Action Award recipient. She strongly advocated – and still does – to have the children referred to and treated as victims, not criminals.

Education: The Key to Success

To date, Children of the Night’s president and founder is credited with rescuing more than 10,000 children from prostitution in the U.S.

The organization’s shelter, located in Van Nuys, California, offers no-cost housing for as many as 12 children ages 11 to 17. They attend classes at the on-site school, receive individualized treatment, and participate in fun outings. A nationwide toll-free hotline is also staffed 24/7.

Lee sees education as the most fundamental of the services they offer, and attendance is mandatory for all residents.

“What’s really important about the development of any society is to educate the people,” she explains. “Through education, I was able to learn about the world. Education empowers.”

While children are offered treatment to manage trauma, their past experiences are not the focus, Lee stresses. “I don’t feel sorry for the children with whom I work,” she says. “[That] incapacitates their ability to become strong and independent. I want the world for my kids. I have very high expectations of them.”

Which is not to say she isn’t deeply empathetic to what they’ve faced.

“There is no way that I can make what happened to them go away, but I can … put distance between their old lifestyle and their life now.”

Still Fighting

Today, Lee is regarded as one of the world’s leading experts in rescuing child sex trafficking victims, raising awareness on a topic that previously wasn’t talked about. In 1981, the General Accounting Office estimated there were 600,000 children under the age of 16 working as prostitutes in the United States. Today, that number is estimated to be 100,000.

In January 2017, Children of the Night announced a new global initiative to rescue 10,000 more children worldwide from sex trafficking.

Lee is also passionate about giving back to the campus that helped turn her dream into an advocacy mission that has no doubt saved thousands of lives.

“So much of what I have done and have been able to do in my life is because of my time at CSU Dominguez Hills,” Lee says. “The faculty raised me and nourished me. They liked to take risks and they challenged traditional thinking processes. “Dominguez Hills taught me how to break down barriers.”

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Actor Terry Crews Comes Forward About Being Sexually Assaulted by Hollywood Exec

blank

Published

on

Actor Terry Crews takes to Twitter to discuss being sexually assaulted by a Hollywood Executive in the wake of the firing of Harvey Weinstein for sexual assault after years of accusations.

Actor Terry Crews

Did you hear the Expendables star say last year?

How is it the criminal justice system doesn’t seem to be able to touch these folks?

Power and privilege keep a lot of people silent.

He just validated a whole lot of women who deal with this on the regular. It’s not easy to come forward.

There is strength in numbers and knowing you are not alone.

Both men and women are affected by sexual assault and rape culture, and it will take more men becoming advocates as well as coming forward to tell their stories because they have stories too.

Reactions from Twitter

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

swhelperlogo

Enter your email below to subscribe to the Daily Helper delivered to your inbox once a day.

Advertisement

Trending

Trending

SUBSCRIBE TO THE DAILY HELPER
Sign up.....It's free! Get the latest news article delivered directly to your inbox once a day from Social Work Helper. We promise not to spam you!