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Study: Rape crisis centers proved resilient during the Rauner impasse

Friday, Jan 28, 2022

* The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority commissioned a study on the effect the 2015-17 Rauner impasse had on rape crisis centers (RCCs) in Illinois. It wasn’t as bad as I might’ve expected, but that’s not to say that we should ever let this happen again

Study findings showed RCCs’ service delivery was negatively affected by the budget impasse, with criminal justice advocacy and individual counseling significantly decreasing after 24 months of the budget impasse. Aggregate telephone counseling hours rose sharply at first but resumed a normal pattern after 12 months of the budget impasse. This suggests a direct relationship between state funding and service delivery.

Rural RCC services were more affected by the budget impasse than those of their urban counterparts. Rural centers saw a statistically significant reduction in group counseling hours at 12 and 24 months. Medical advocacy hours also significantly decreased at 24 months. However, telephone counseling showed significant increases at six, 12, and 24 months into the budget impasse. It is not surprising that rural RCCs, to which clients face perennial transportation barriers, would increase their telephone counseling hours while decreasing in-person counseling.

Overall, RCCs were negatively affected by the budget impasse with decreases in service hours for some categories yet no centers closed their doors during this time. This survival is a testament to the hard work and resilience of Illinois RCCs amid a period of fiscal uncertainty and instability. More research is needed to assess the qualitative and long-term effects of the impasse and should take into account any new funding made available in state fiscal year 2018, including increased VOCA funds. Long-term financial sustainability is not easy to accomplish with few sources of unrestricted funds. This study suggests RCCs are good at planning for financial uncertainty and coming up with solutions when finances are tight.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

7 Comments
  1. - Socially DIstant Watcher - Friday, Jan 28, 22 @ 11:04 am:

    ==no centers closed their doors ==

    Is this what victory looks like? Because that’s a pretty weak definition of victory.


  2. - walker - Friday, Jan 28, 22 @ 11:12 am:

    Rape Crisis Center workers and volunteers proved resilient.


  3. - Steve Polite - Friday, Jan 28, 22 @ 11:17 am:

    “This survival is a testament to the hard work and resilience of Illinois RCCs amid a period of fiscal uncertainty and instability.”

    Victory? Between the headline and the statement in the article, this is what resiliency looks like, and it’s a textbook definition of resiliency.

    the ability of a system or organization to respond to or recover readily from a crisis, disruptive process, etc. - dictionary.com


  4. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 28, 22 @ 11:17 am:

    “I’m frustrated too, but taking steps to reform Illinois is more important than a short term budget stalemate”

    - Ron Sandack

    Never forget, “crisis is leverage” and “feature, not the bug”

    But… this should make some take serious pause.

    Read it twice even;

    === This survival is a testament to the hard work and resilience of Illinois RCCs amid a period of fiscal uncertainty and instability. More research is needed to assess the qualitative and long-term effects of the impasse and should take into account any new funding made available in state fiscal year 2018, including increased VOCA funds. Long-term financial sustainability is not easy to accomplish with few sources of unrestricted funds. This study suggests RCCs are good at planning for financial uncertainty and coming up with solutions when finances are tight.===

    Why one needs to plan for uncertainty or purposeful harm, when solutions to aid make more fiscal sense in the long term and overall… maybe this says more than a keen, astute observation of the now and going forward?


  5. - Andrea Durbin - Friday, Jan 28, 22 @ 11:49 am:

    Everything has a cost. When rape crisis centers are planning and twisting themselves in knots to try to keep the doors open, every single minute of that effort is not a minute spent on innovating, strategic planning, training, recruiting staff, serving clients, addressing trauma, etc. I am in awe of every organization that managed to keep their doors open and services flowing under extreme constraints, but we should NEVER assume that this is OK or that this is something we should count on going forward.

    The best part of human services is how mission-driven people are. We should not take advantage of the fact that providers don’t want to quit on their clients and use that against them.


  6. - Saluki with a Job - Friday, Jan 28, 22 @ 12:21 pm:

    Many RCCs also reduced salaries and had furloughs for employees, which is something that doesn’t show up in the stat sheets either.


  7. - just the facts - Friday, Jan 28, 22 @ 1:55 pm:

    They didn’t close their doors because so many people volunteers, made contributions, and worked without pay to help victims and keep the doors open. The result wasn’t total decimation but it was tragic nevertheless. Hopefully a lesson for those who think the impasse was worth it.


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