Social IMPACT Research Center Publications

The Social IMPACT Research Center has an extensive portfolio of needs assessment and evaluation research on issues facing poor and low-income populations. Our user-friendly work equips nonprofits, foundations, and governments to advance real-world solutions to poverty.
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Connecting to Safety and Stability: Domestic Violence Needs Assessment of Chicago

July 18, 2017

Domestic violence is pervasive. Approximately 1 in 3 women have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner in the United States. It is estimated that more than 2 million Illinoisans have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime. Domestic violence impacts individuals and communities throughout Chicago. A comprehensive assessment of the domestic violence response system, however, has not been conducted in Chicago since 2007. In light of changes in service capacity and practice over the past decade, as well as the protracted state budget crisis, a needs assessment serves to document the existing domestic violence response system and highlight gaps that need to be filled. To this end, Crown Family Philanthropies, Polk Bros. Foundation, and Michael Reese Health Trust came together and hired Heartland Alliance's Social IMPACT Research Center (IMPACT) to conduct a domestic violence needs assessment. To identify the scale of need for domestic violence services in Chicago, IMPACT partnered with local researchers and service providers to access, analyze, and present secondary data. The study also includes primary data collection and analysis to illustrate prevalence, survivor experience, service capacity, and outstanding needs.

Human Rights & Justice; Safety Net & Human Services

Legal Aid in Illinois: Selected Social and Economic Benefits

May 1, 2012

This study estimates the economic benefits of cases closed by seven legal aid providers in 2010. It also provides a picture of the level of economic disadvantage experienced by clients who benefited from legal aid using data on clients' average household size and income.

Human Rights & Justice; Safety Net & Human Services

Legal Aid in Illinois: Selected Social and Economic Benefits, Methodology Report

May 1, 2012

This study estimates the economic benefits of cases closed by seven legal aid providers in 2010. It also provides a picture of the level of economic disadvantage experienced by clients who benefited from legal aid using data on clients' average household size and income.

Human Rights & Justice; Safety Net & Human Services

Power of Policy Change: 5 Policies Proven to Reduce Poverty in Illinois

March 27, 2012

This brief summarizes anti-poverty policy simulations conducted by the Urban Institute for the Illinois Commission on the Elimination of Poverty.

Human Rights & Justice; Poverty; Safety Net & Human Services

Realizing Human Rights in Illinois: A Report on the From Poverty to Opportunity Campaign Action Forums

February 27, 2008

As the From Poverty to Opportunity Campaign: Realizing Human Rights in Illinois traveled from Carlinville to Evanston to Madison to Chicago's west side, individuals from across Illinois at 20 different forums throughout 2007 spoke to the reality that poverty is the absence of these human rights. This understanding fueled thoughtful, involved conversations about the barriers for people experiencing poverty and the solutions that need to be in place to give people real opportunity.

Human Rights & Justice

Human Trafficking in Iraq: Patterns and Practices in Forced Labor and Sexual Exploitation

May 1, 2007

Human trafficking in the form of forced prostitution and labor has long existed in Iraq, as has forced marriage and domestic servitude within the family, tribe and community. Since the 2003 invasion and subsequent civil war, Iraq has increasingly been a source of trafficking victims who are transported to neighboring countries, as well as a destination for foreign workers who are at risk of trafficking and come to Iraq from the Philippines, Nepal, Bangladesh and other countries where poverty is widespread. Furthermore, internal conflict and breakdown in law and order has resulted in a rise in kidnapping and trafficking from one location to another within Iraq.The Iraqi Constitution prohibits forced labor, kidnapping, slavery, slave trade, trafficking in women or children, and the sex trade, and the Government of Iraq ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women ("CEDAW"). However Iraqi government officials have overwhelmingly failed to act to prevent abuses and to punish offenders. Iraq has not passed anti-trafficking legislation, allowing traffickers to continue to operate with impunity. Research and preliminary investigations leading to the production of this report indicate that Iraqi women and girls are being subjected to the following types of trafficking: 1) exploitation of prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation; 2) forced labor or services; 3) slavery or practices similar to slavery; and 4) servitude. There are also credible reports of trafficking-related practices such as forced participation in criminal activity. Because of the nature of trafficking, quantitative measurement is inexact even in developed nations with functioning judicial and law enforcement sectors. In Iraq, measuring the scope of trafficking is far more difficult. However, there is ample evidence of established patterns and practices of trafficking, leading to a strong likelihood that hundreds of women have been trafficked over the last five years in the Kurdistan region, and thousands elsewhere in Iraq and in neighboring regions.In accordance with the Iraqi Constitution as well as international treaty obligations, Iraq must develop an effective national and regional counter-trafficking strategy. A comprehensive approach to combating trafficking must include prevention strategies, protection of trafficking victims, and prosecution of traffickers. This is a difficult time for Iraqis as they struggle with ongoing violence and war, as well as ongoing political restructuring in which many issues have yet to be determined. However it is also an opportune time to address trafficking and other serious human rights violations, as Iraq's national and regional governments work to strengthen the rule of law. Addressing problems of trafficking and other forms of gender-motivated violence is integral to this process of reform.

Human Rights & Justice

Extreme Poverty and Human Rights: A Primer

January 1, 2007

Everyone deserves the opportunity to have a roof over their head, to put food on the table and to give their children a chance at a bright future, but that opportunity does not exist for the hundreds of thousands of people in Illinois living in extreme poverty. Freedom from this barrier requires a comprehensive vision and plan. This primer will provide the tools to understand the role of opportunity and human rights in eradicating poverty. Specifically, this guidebook defines what it means to be extremely poor and how many people live in extreme poverty -- globally and locally. It also identifies the rights guaranteed equally to every human being, which have been promised by the United Nations and by the United States government. Freedom from extreme poverty is the most basic of human rights. Finally, this primer highlights global and local efforts to fulfill human rights and eradicate extreme poverty and what each of us can do to help move all of humankind from poverty to opportunity.

Human Rights & Justice; Poverty

Victims of Human Trafficking in the Midwest

April 1, 2006

In 2003-2005, Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights (Heartland Alliance) implemented the Midwest Counter-Trafficking Program with funding from the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) of the Department of Justice. Heartland Alliance's Mid-America Institute on Poverty (MAIP) and Midwest Immigrant and Human Rights Center (MIHRC) prepared this Needs Assessment and MAIP subsequently conducted an independent Program Evaluation of MIHRC as commissioned by OVC. These deliverables have been integrated into one document.

Human Rights & Justice

Human Rights in the Heartland: An Assessment of Social, Economic, Civil, and Political Rights in the Midwest

December 1, 2005

This report measures human rights progress in the heart of the United States. In this compilation, eight Midwestern states are evaluated on a freedom index, providing a comparative snapshot of local commitments to civil, political, social, and economic rights.

Human Rights & Justice

In Our Own Back Yard -- Human Rights in the Heartland

December 10, 2004

This report is designed to educate Midwesterners about the crucial role of human rights protections and to reveal the gap between human rights standards and realities in the Midwest. It is produced as an abridged report, not as a comprehensive analysis of human rights, and is primarily based on conditions encountered by Heartland Alliance in its provision of direct services to more than 72,000 individuals over the past year. It pinpoints areas of concern and provides illustrative case studies of human rights abuses. The recommendations stem from these and many other cases.

Human Rights & Justice

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