Illinois Imagines is a statewide systems change initiative that brings together the Illinois Department of Human Services and several key agencies and individuals working in the field of disability and sexual assault. These organizations include, The Self-Advocacy Alliance, Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA), Illinois Family Violence Coordinating Council (IFVCC), Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living (INCIL), and the Blue Tower Training Center. With the ultimate goal of systems change, the vision of Illinois Imagines is for all women with disabilities to be guaranteed an environment free from sexual violence, where they are empowered to speak and act for themselves.
Our Unique Contribution
Four core components are used by Illinois Imagines to effect change: collaborative teams, accessibility/responsiveness of rape crisis centers and disability providers, outreach to women with disabilities, and public policy standards. In addition to these core components, self-advocates (people with disabilities) are key to the collaboration’s success and are involved in all aspects of the initiative as members of the state planning committee, public policy committee, regional training team, resource development, and local collaborative teams. The work of Illinois Imagines has led to changes in the infrastructure of human services and the service delivery model, including changes in the sexual assault service standards, changes to state codes to improve access to services (rape kit, counseling, confidentiality of records), and the development of resources for families, guardians and service providers.
Illinois Imagines has developed a provider toolkit which contains resources for strategic planning, creating safe and welcoming environments, staff training, policy development, as well as outreach and education for people with disabilities. Additionally, they have developed educational materials for parents and guardians, and an empowerment guide for self-advocates.