New resource for legal advocates

The National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence showed us that children are exposed to violence at alarming rates.

Some of the results of a child’s exposure to violence can impact their development, understanding and mental health and could eventually land them in front of a judge who may not be aware of their exposure or victimization.

“Legal advocates working with youth in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems need to understand how past histories of violence and traumatic experiences can profoundly affect their clients’ health and their court cases,” said Lisa Pilnik, director and co-founder of Child & Family Policy Associates, LLC.

To help legal advocates understand children’s exposure to violence, the Safe Start Center partnered with the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law and Child and Family Policy Associates to create Victimization and Trauma Experienced by Children and Youth: Implications for Legal Advocates.

“Those who work within the juvenile and family court system, especially court appointed attorneys and other advocates for children and their families, finally have a basic guide, written just for them, to help understand how their law-related work can truly be trauma-informed.”
— Howard Davidson, director of the ABA Center on Children and the Law

In this resource you’ll find:

  • Information about the prevalence and impact of victimization and exposure to violence
  • Practice tips for juvenile defenders, children’s attorneys and GALs, judges, and CASAs
  • Explanations of traumatic stress symptoms and trauma-related assessments and treatments
  • Descriptions of promising local and state initiatives to address trauma
  • Guidance on policy reforms and other considerations for trauma-informed advocacy

“This resource explains how prevalent exposure to violence is and what symptoms it may lead to, and it provides advocates with practice tips on how to work with these clients and achieve the best possible outcomes for them,” said Pilnik.

In addition to this issue brief,  Identifying Polyvictimization and Trauma among Court-Involved Children and Youth: A Checklist and Resource Guide for Attorneys and Other Court Appointed Advocates will be released later this year.


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