UIC study works to understand survivors of violence

Shootings in Chicago leave a lot of collateral damage - the victims, their families, and their neighbors.

Now a group is working to help people recover from the violence. Social workers at University of Illinois at Chicago was awarded a grant earlier this year to help study the experiences of crime victims and what services they need.

“Often we see young black men and we see them as perpetrators, but the fact is many of them are victims and many who perpetrate violence are victims themselves,” said Henrika McCoy, Assistant professor of social work.

So often their stories go untold, but McCoy and her colleagues are trying to change that. 

“We know we have these young men out here that we don't really understand a lot about them in terms of their experiences so we can't provide services,” she said.

Their three year study will develop a set list of questions for crime victims, African American men between the ages of 18 and 24.

“Children are victims as far as witnesses all of these things are cumulative you are talking about people coming home from war with PTSD sadly some of these kids in the neighborhoods are growing up with that,” said Senator Durbin Sunday. “I’m not diminishing the violence and stopping those who are engaged in it, but let's get to the root of the causes.”

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson also focusing on the cause and the solution saying in a statement:

As we look toward the summer months, Superintendent Johnson has made it very clear that the violence will not be tolerated – period. The cause of the violence traces back decades, and everyone has a role to play in fixing it – police working with parents, judges, residents, clergy, community leaders, and others. Put simply, we need more values, fewer guns and stronger sentences against violence offenders.

The UIC social work department is looking for volunteers for their grant work.

If you are an African American man between the ages of 18-24 and have been victimized please email survive@uic.edu