Data and Advocacy: Violence Data Landscape

This week’s blog is written by SCY Data Specialist Kevin Rak.

In 2018, SCY unveiled the Violence Data Landscape as a resource for researchers, agencies, media, and the general public. This curated list of sources includes violence data as well as information on the social determinants of health that contribute to violence.

We have updated the titles and links to make sure they are accurate. We have also added new resources. Rob Paral and Associates has an extensive catalogue of data on Chicago Community Areas, including historical data and information about immigrant communities. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning has population, employment, and housing data on suburban municipalities in addition to Chicago Community Areas. Finally, Heartland Alliance has a series of reports on racial/ethnic inequality and data on poverty in Illinois.

Data and reports are not substitute for advocacy and direct action to support individuals, families, and communities at risk of violence. However, they do have a role to play. Research can help residents, mentors, social workers, and advocates get a fuller picture of violence in their communities, helping them to prevent violence in the first place. It is also useful in communicating with governments and private funders about the situation in your community and why they should invest in your community.

Still, data is not a one-way street: people who live and/or work in communities that deal with violence can point out where the data are incomplete, misleading or lacking in context. In that spirit, we invite your feedback on the Violence Data Landscape. Is it meeting your needs? Are there existing sources that should be included, or sources in there that should be taken out? Do you need data on violence and/or community issues, but are having a hard time finding it? Please feel free to reach out to me and we can discuss it further!

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