Domestic Violence Work

The city of Chicago receives around 500 calls to 911 for domestic violence incidents every day, day after day, year after year. Most of those harmed are women, particularly in our most economically disadvantaged and racially segregated communities. The children who witness this violence are also affected, often long into adulthood. And by many accounts the recent global COVID-19 pandemic, by confining even more of daily life to the home and through its harmful impact on population mental health, seems to have made the problem even worse.

The University of Chicago Crime Lab is in response launching a new initiative to try to help better prevent domestic violence and ameliorate its harmful effects. Many of our priorities for this new initiative align with the recent strategic plan on addressing gender-based violence released by the city of Chicago:

  • Identifying helpful non-criminal justice responses
  • Working across agencies and sectors
  • Using administrative data to help connect people to services

Our immediate goal is to help reduce the burden of domestic violence in our home city of Chicago. But since, unfortunately, almost every city and town in America struggle with this challenge to some degree, our ultimate hope is that at least some of the lessons learned here may also be useful to national efforts to prevent domestic violence as well.