Citywide Strategic Plan to Address Gender-based Violence and Human Trafficking

Pillars of the GBV/HT Strategic Plan

The City of Chicago is building its first whole-of-government approach to address gender-based violence and human trafficking by first acknowledging the historical and systemic roots found at the intersection of racism and gender inequity; and second by building solutions-driven, trauma-informed strategies with community leaders, survivors, and City officials to create a safer, more equitable and inclusive Chicago.  This strategic plan will take place over the next two years.

Gender-based violence (GBV) disproportionately impacts women of color, indigenous women, transgender individuals and LGBQIA+ individuals, immigrants, and people with disabilities. It is a human rights violation and a public health crisis. GBV is a form of discrimination and recognized as a manifestation of unequal power. GBV is bias-based harm caused by one’s bias against another person’s gender identity. Harmful acts can include:
  • Physical violence
  • Emotional abuse
  • Sexual violence
  • Sexual harassment
  • Discrimination based on gender
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Human trafficking
  • Workplace violence
  • Economic/financial abuse
  • Coercive manipulation
  • Harms related to immigration
  • Stalking and harassment, including via electronic communications
  • Reproductive coercion
  • Discrimination and/or targeted violence based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity
  • Institutional violence

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City employees are knowledgeable about gender-based violence and human trafficking  and they have the capacity to operationalize the key strategies within this plan
  • Mandate a suite of standardized training on GBV/HT for all City employees and Sister Agencies and leverage the expertise of community-based organization to develop the training
  • Equip Investigators (e.g. Commission on Human Rights; Department of Human Resources, Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, etc.) with trauma-informed care training and knowledge to identify indicators of and to respond to GBV/HT allegations or incidents
  • Develop a dedicated training for 911 telecommunicators to equip them with the proper tools and knowledge when taking GBV-related calls
  • Widely disseminate information on the Illinois Victim’s Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA) for all City employees including information on resources in the community to support individuals in need of services
  • Ensure all City employees who are mandated reporters receive training regularly and as required by State law
  • Increase staffing capacity at Departments and Sister agencies to operationalize key strategies and action steps of this plan
  • Develop partnerships with philanthropic partners to hire and professionally develop dedicated fellows to support the work of the strategic plan
Departments are equipped and skilled to respond to gender-based violence/human trafficking in a trauma-informed and responsible way
  • Create trauma-informed response protocols for all public-facing City departments
  • Develop workplace safety plans within all City departments and Sister agencies
  • Departments/agencies funding social services will conduct a needs assessment of their portfolios to better understand scope of GBV/HT work across City-funded services and needs of additional programming
  • Survey all public-facing delegate agencies on baseline knowledge and level of training on GBV/HT
  • Review procurement policies to ensure contracted agencies are in compliance with all elements of gender-based violence prohibition within criminal and civil law.
Inter and Intra-department/agency collaboration is improved and strengthened
  • Create a dedicated leadership structure within the Mayor’s Office on gender-based violence to support coordination, oversee implementation of the strategic plan, and to support the work happening across the city related to GBV/HT through research, data and best practices.
  • Identify key points of contact within Departments to liaison with Mayor’s Office and other departments/agencies to address GBV/HT
  • Conduct Inter and Intra-department training and shadowing to improve collaboration and cohesion across entities within city government thereby enhancing the response to GBV/HT
  • Develop interagency agreements between key departments to foster collaboration and to articulate shared-goals related to addressing and/or preventing GBV/HT
  • Collaborate across Chicago Transit Authority departments to determine what could be incorporated into gender-based safe riding initiatives and work alongside the UN Safe Cities initiative led by the Office of the City Clerk
City departments and sister agencies have strong partnerships with community-based organizations and leaders in the gender-based violence/human trafficking field(s) to better connect survivors and/or those who cause harm with services and supports.
  • Increase understanding of City departments/sister agency work among community partners and key stakeholders, including residents
  • Educate GBV/HT community partners on all access points into the housing ecosystem and ensure understanding of resources available
  • Widely disseminate information on GBV/HT related services within City government and across the city
  • Develop pathways for community-based organizations and survivors to provide input and expertise across City government
  • Create linkages between community partners and City government to better serve survivors (e.g. connecting GBV providers with substance-use providers)
  • Partner with Women Employed on a study to better understand how to foster and support employment pathways towards economic independence for domestic violence survivors
  • Partner with Federal agencies and community-based organizations on best practices to identify and respond to gender-based violence and/or human trafficking on public transportation
Chicago Police Department’s policies and practices are best-in-class and rooted in best practices and trauma-informed care
  • Review, revise and improve training on domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking, human trafficking and trauma-informed care in partnership with community-based organizations and survivors.
  • Review, revise and strengthen policies, special orders, and directives related to domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking and human trafficking in partnership with community-based organizations and survivors.
  • Include specialized detectives within CPD to lead investigations of human trafficking related cases for both adults and minors
  • Improve language access and accessibility for deaf or hard of hearing victims and ensure CPD adheres to their language access plan when responding to non-English speaking victims and/or offenders.
  • Review and revise practices on victim interviews and completing case reports for GBV/HT incidents utilizing best practices as developed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police
  • Develop meaningful pathways for community and survivors to provide input on policies and practices that is intentional, welcomed and utilized.
  • Develop standard operating procedures that build in additional responsibilities for crime victim advocates, including involvement and decision-making power in constructing the initial response, subsequent implementation, and ongoing training and advocacy.
  • Strengthen partnerships between Chicago Police Department and community-based advocates to ensure survivors are met with immediate, trauma-informed services to meet their needs throughout and regardless of the outcome of the investigation of their victimization
  • Improve information sharing policies and practices across government and partner agencies to ensure victims remain protected and met with trauma-informed services and support
CPD’s workforce reflects the demography of Chicago and ii utilized efficiently and effectively to ensure public safety and adequate response (as outlined in Objective 1).
  • Recruit and retain female-identified officers
  • Work with CPD to assess the adoption of gender responsive training, policies and procedures
  • Review and revise processes to ensure that detectives are able to dedicate their time to investigating cases related to GBV/HT
City of Chicago and community partners understand the needs of survivors and map those needs to current services and supports to help identify gaps and barriers to access.
  • Conduct a needs assessment to better understand successes and barriers within GBV-related programs currently funded by the City of Chicago
  • Survey survivors to understand their experience in navigating the system (e.g. housing, law enforcement, mental health) and to help improve service provision and accessibility
  • Conduct a Racial Equity Impact Assessment of all domestic violence programs funded by the City
Survivors have access to a variety of trauma-informed, culturally appropriate services that ensure that individuals and families can connect to a strong safety net that promotes economic stability, safety, and well-being
  • Review and reform RFP processes utilizing a GBV/HT lens for social services, as appropriate, in partnership with community-based organizations
  • Develop new program models driven by best-practice research and data
  • Explore low-threshold services such as drop-in centers for individuals engaged in sex work or survivors of domestic violence who are not yet ready to leave
  • Prioritize a one-stop-shop model to provide comprehensive services and seamless connections to service providers and city services for both adult and minor survivors of gender-based violence and human trafficking
  • Support the mental health needs of survivors of gender-based violence and/or human trafficking and the young people in the survivor’s life impacted by the violence
  • Learn from the City’s alternate response to behavioral health crisis’ and pursue a non-police crisis response to gender-based violence related incidents
Individuals who cause harm are held accountable through community-based interventions that seek to change behaviors, decrease violence and uphold accountability
  • Collaborate with street outreach teams focused on gun-violence to raise awareness about domestic violence and available services
  • Evaluate CDPH’s pilot for services for people who cause harm
  • Convene local and national leaders on restorative justice practices related to intimate-partner violence to design a roadmap for Chicago to implement into the fabric of services and supports
Youth are centered in the design and implementation of services for survivors and families
  • Expand existing and implement new opportunities for youth-designed programs/campaigns and youth-led advocacy related to GBV/HT
  • Launch the Transforming Biased-Based Harm Initiative that expands CPS’ Office for Student Protection capacity to coordinate response, supports and investigations of biased-based harm
  • Launch CPS’ Civil Rights Scholars Program at CPS
  • Convene the Civil Rights Student Leadership Summit
  • Develop trauma-informed, age-appropriate and culturally specific services for young people who have witnessed and/or experienced inter-personal violence
The City of Chicago and partners understand—and make progress in addressing— the scope and prevalence of gender-based violence and human trafficking
  • Partner with a research organization to conduct a prevalence study on human trafficking
  • Identify and review current data sets within City departments/sister agencies that include GBV/HT data points
  • Organize data (see 1.2) in a meaningful and streamlined away, including visualizations that are publicly available and discussed regularly with key stakeholders
  • Track aggregated data on City’s use of IL Victims' Economic Security and Safety Ac (VESSA) policy to better understand lived experiences of City employees and to inform future City of Chicago Human Resource policies
  • Develop data collection plans for all Departments with public-facing services and/or delegate agencies to better track and understand GBV/HT, including poly-victimization experienced by survivors
  • Build capacity and proficiency among delegate agencies to better screen for and collect data on gender-based violence and/or human trafficking
  • Utilize the Healthy Chicago Survey as a data collection tool to understand experiences of residents regarding safety, gender-based violence, and human trafficking.

City of Chicago has a transparent mapping/landscape analysis of City services, supports and programs related to gender-based violence/human trafficking

  • Issue regular progress reports that transparently depict current state and on-going progress towards this strategic plan
  • Develop annual reporting tools for Departments and Sister agencies to utilize to depict ways in which City of Chicago is addressing gender-based violence and/or human trafficking
  • Survey residents, community-based organizations and City Departments/agencies to gauge how the City is doing in addressing gender-based violence and human trafficking. Utilize results to improve implementation of this plan and development of future strategies
  • Develop a resource directory that is easily accessible for survivors to utilize to navigate systems
The City of Chicago acknowledges the historical and systemic causes found in the intersectionality of racism and gender inequity
  • Engage a third-party trained facilitator to lead a series of conversations with the City of Chicago and key community stakeholders on racial equity in the gender-based violence field/movement
  • Incorporate historical context of gender-based violence into prevention education curriculum development
  • Ensure conversations, training, policies, and practices are inclusive of people with disabilities, people of color, indigenous populations, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and immigrant populations.
Prevention education is prioritized and institutionalized in settings where young people and/or caregivers are predominately served or seeking services. Education must not be a one-size fits all approach, should be culturally appropriate, and responsive to the needs of people with disabilities
  • Conduct landscape scan to identify gaps and opportunities in school-based and non-school based prevention education
  • Widely implement teen dating violence programming, based on best practices, in schools and non- school settingS
  • Prioritize, invest in and support sexual education as it is a critical prevention tool and ensure that all CPS students receive the required sex education each year
Gender-based violence and human trafficking are widely discussed and understood, dismantling the stigma and myths related to these forms of pervasive violence
  • Increase awareness about gender-based violence and human trafficking in vulnerable communities using a multigenerational approach
  • Create multi-lingual public messaging campaign tailored to specific demographic groups (adult men, adult women, teens, LGBTQ+ community, immigrant communities)
  • City Clerk in partnership with the Mayor’s Office will launch a UN Women Safe Cities initiative to create safer streets for female-identified residents
  • Increase signage on domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and/or human trafficking across all City buildings, including the airports
  • Support peer-to-peer models that allow survivors to disseminate information, facilitate conversations, and support community needs
Policies that create barriers for survivors and their families to heal and seek safety are identified and revised
  • Review and revise debt relief programs to accommodate unique needs of survivors of gender-based violence and/or human trafficking
  • Finalize COPA’s ordinance changes as anticipated by the Consent Decree to ensure jurisdiction over all sexual misconduct investigations
  • Review and revise City of Chicago Human Resources policies to ensure safety and protection of City Employees is considered and upheld and offenders are held accountable
  • Build a housing ecosystem under the premise of “no wrong door” for individuals experiencing violence and/or exploitation and ensure options exist for those who may not be imminently fleeing violence but remain unstably housed and at-risk of re-victimization
  • Work with State and County partners to review and improve The Chicago Prostitution and Trafficking Intervention Court, ensuring clear processes for agency partners to engage in offering services, including free legal services.
Chicago has the strongest worker protections and workers understand their rights and are empowered to continuously advocate for safe and just workplaces.
  • Enhance worker protections for low-wage workers
  • Publish the Tipped Wage Study to help analyze and determine fair living wages or workers who are currently receiving subminimum wage for tipped work
  • Implement wage theft, domestic worker and other protections included within the Chi Biz Strong Initiative
  • Develop living wage standards in Chicago and continuously work to improve the economic stability of Chicagoans
  • Increase Know Your Rights education and information regarding workplace rights, worker safety, and labor laws and ensure workers are able to safely report without retaliation and do not lose critical income in the process
  • Scale the outreach and education pilot for domestic workers at the Office of Labor Standards

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