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Safety & Justice

Justice Involved Women & Girls Prevalence of Trauma

When women and girls experience physical and sexual violence, the trauma has far-reaching consequences. The trauma also is a common thread in the backgrounds of a majority of women and girls who enter the criminal justice system.

The consequences of violence affect women’s and girls’:

  • Physical and mental health
  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • Addiction rates
  • Morbidity and mortality rates

Safety

After a decade (1995-2005) of decline, the rate of reported rape and sexual assault remains unchanged from 2005 to 2010. The rate likely has increased because sexual violence is one of the most underreported crimes.

Violence affects a variety of populations, and the issues may vary. Attention is growing to understand the scope, impact and strategies to address elder abuse/elder sexual assault, military sexual trauma, trafficking, cyber bullying and “sexting.”

While more resources are required to address the needs of victims, new prevention efforts are being made to reduce the rates of sexual violence by addressing perpetrators. Of note are safe-dating education initiatives in middle and high schools and sexual violence prevention efforts on college campuses.

Justice System Involvement

Local and national research, training, programming and advocacy efforts have shed significant light on women’s and girls’ involvement in the justice system:

  • The majority of women in prison have experienced emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse.
  • Women and girls of color receive longer sentences in comparison to their white female counterparts.
  • Most girls’ offenses do not threaten public safety. Women’s offenses are typically for nonviolent crimes that are often drug and/or property-related.
  • Common life experiences such as living in poverty, sexual abuse and challenging family circumstances have resulted in complex trauma that requires services to address co-occurring mental health disorders.
  • Corrections policies and practices need to address the risks and needs of female offenders.
  • Effective transition and re-entry programs are key to preventing recurrence; resources are needed to provide them.

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Here To Help

Joanne Cohen, J.D.

Joanne Cohen, J.D.
Vice President,
Philanthropic Services
The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida

904.356.4483
JCohen@jaxcf.org

In Her Own Words

Heather Downs

"WGA's research findings highlight the unique issues women and girls face in Jacksonville. It also illustrates the continued need for community action and support." - Heather Downs, Associate Professor of Sociology, Jacksonville University

Scott

"WGA’s investment in research allows us to base our grant making on data and to demonstrate we are serious about having an impact, about moving the needle.” - Scott McGehee, Past Chair WGA Grants Committee

Sandy Cook

“WGA’s decision to direct our philanthropy to improve the lives of women and girls was due to the very limited philanthropic and programmatic resources available to do so. The combination of WGA’s grants and the research that supports them has been critical to bring the needs of 50+% of our population to light.” - Sandy Cook, WGA Past President

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