On Wednesday, May 17, Swedish Covenant Hospital Foundation brought together health care leaders, direct service providers, community members and elected officials for Violence Prevention Day. The day-long event addressed the health care sector’s critical role in identifying and responding to survivors of violence. The event was made possible through the generous sponsorship of Allstate.
During the event, Kate Lawler, director of the violence prevention program at Swedish Covenant Hospital, outlined why the health sector is in a unique position to identify and respond to domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual assault. According to Kate, the health care sector serves a large volume of individuals, and thereby touches many lives each day. In addition violence and abuse have health consequences. Therefore, survivors often seek treatment. And finally, the health sector is one of the few places where a survivor is able to speak with someone alone.
Following Kate, Kimberly Leslie, clinical director of the Swedish Covenant Hospital Emergency Department presented the hospital’s approach to identifying and responding to violence, including staff trainings on human trafficking.
“Before the training, we weren’t aware that this was happening in our community. Through training, staff learned red flags in recognizing victims of trafficking and a lightbulb went off. Staff started recalling experiences and patients that met the criteria – like a young patient who came to the emergency department on a school night with an injury he sustained working in a warehouse,” Kimberly said.
Dr. Elaine Alpert, Instructor, MD Undergraduate Program Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia was the keynote speaker for the event. Additional sessions explored topics including reporting and documentation and first response in the health care setting.
The event was organized in collaboration with Swedish Covenant Hospital’s community partners for the Violence Prevention Program, including Apna Ghar, Between Friends, Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network, KAN-WIN, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) Project Impact, Rape Victim Advocates, and the Salvation Army Stop-it Program.
Kathleen Doherty, LCSW, ICDVP, Executive Director, Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network
Summar Ghias, MSW, Human Trafficking Task Force Coordinator STOP-IT, The Salvation Army Family and Community Services
Jacklyn Rodriguez, BSN, BS, RN, SANE-A, SANE Coordinator, Crime Victim Services, Office of the Attorney General, State of Illinois