Amanda L. Vasquez is a research analyst with the Authority’s Center for Victim Studies. Amanda received her master’s degree in criminology, law, and justice, and a bachelor’s degree in applied psychology and criminal justice from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She is currently finishing her doctorate in criminology, law, and justice, also from UIC, with a concentration in gender and women studies. Amanda is particularly interested in issues related to violence against women, particularly sex trafficking, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence. Her dissertation focuses on the intersection of sexual assault and sex trafficking.
Amanda L. Vasquez is
Violence against women, sexual assault, sex trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation of children, and intimate partner violence
Media—in particular news coverage—contribute toward shaping public understanding and opinion on societal issues, and influence policies, programs, and legislative action. While a small number of previous studies have explored journalists’ reporting on other social issues, very little is known about their perceptions and knowledge of human trafficking. In this exploratory study, researchers conducted 12 qualitative interviews with Illinois newspaper reporters to examine their understanding and work process in covering human trafficking. The results suggest that while many reporters understand the federal definition of trafficking, there remain gaps in knowledge about the complexity of the issue. Furthermore, the work process that reporters follow to report on human trafficking differs by their particular role and level of experience, with investigative stories on human trafficking being covered by more seasoned reporters who have the time and space to explore the issue in greater depth. The study findings highlight the importance of, and constraints upon, comprehensive news coverage on human trafficking.
Illinois victims and victim service providers indicate that legal services are needed post-victimization, and for many victims in the state this need is left unmet. Meeting a victim’s legal needs is key to ensuring their safety and security and enabling them to continue to recover from their victimization experience. Crime victims can directly benefit from access to comprehensive legal services, including legal advocacy, civil legal services and victim rights enforcement. Numerous legal avenues are open to victims of crime, and legal advocates and attorneys are well-positioned to assist victims as they engage either the criminal justice or civil legal systems. This article explores types of victim legal services, the roles of legal service providers, the needs and potential remedies available to victims by crime type, and barriers to legal service access and delivery. Implications for both providers and funders to ensure comprehensive legal services to victims of crime also are discussed.
Researchers conducted a statewide study to better understand crime victim needs, identify service gaps, and measure the capacity of Illinois victim service providers. Victim service providers from across Illinois identified the needs of violent crime victims. Providers also highlighted service gaps, or ways in which current service availability was unable to satisfy victim need. Study findings have policy and practice implications for funders, victim service providers, and other service agencies that interact with victims in Illinois.