When I was working at a rural shelter for battered women, I saw firsthand the damage that violence and victimization causes children, youth, and families. I also learned how incredibly complex these situations were; and though policymakers, researchers, and the public all yearned for simplistic fixes, there were no easy answers or explanations. I questioned if we really understood the problem and whether what we were doing was really helping. Now I try to help answer those questions to ensure that policies and programs focus on repairing the harm caused to victims of crime and restoring their well-being.
Janine Zweig is associate vice president for justice policy in the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute, where her work addresses issues related to violent victimization, primarily intimate partner and sexual violence. It includes applied and basic research, with an eye toward contributing useful information to policymakers and practitioners to solve problems and better assist victims, as well as to the general body of knowledge.
Zweig conducted several studies that addressed provisions of the Violence Against Women Act and the Prison Rape Elimination Act. She has also written and spoken on the policies and practices around sexual assault medical forensic exam payment, victims’ access to the exam, and the exam’s role in investigation and prosecution; on criminal justice, local victim service agency, and social services responses to domestic violence and sexual assault victims; on policies and programs to prevent and respond to sexual victimization in prisons, jails, and juvenile justice facilities; on the role of technology in teen dating violence and abuse; and on the role of victimization in the development and persistence of substance use and mental health issues and offending behaviors.
Zweig has published in practitioner periodicals and scholarly journals, and her work has been featured in the Washington Post and Christian Science Monitor. She received the Hugo G. Beigel Award for outstanding research based on a longitudinal study of the effects of sexual victimization in the Journal of Sex Research.
She earned her PhD in human development and family studies from Pennsylvania State University.