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Identifying Polyvictimization and Trauma Among Court-Involved Children and Youth: A Checklist and Resource Guide for Attorneys and Other Court-Appointed Advocates

NCJ Number
248419
Date Published
Author(s)
Pilnik, L., JD, Kendall, J., JD
Annotation
This Polyvictimization and Trauma Identification Checklist and Resource Guide (Checklist) was developed by the Safe Start Center, the American Bar Association (ABA) Center on Children and the Law, and Child & Family Policy Associates to help lawyers and other legal advocates for children recognize the prevalence and impact of polyvictimization and perform more trauma-informed legal and judicial system advocacy.
Abstract
Polyvictimization, also known as complex trauma, describes the experience of multiple victimizations of different types. Research shows that the impact of poly-victimization is much more powerful than even multiple events of a single type of victimization. Identifying past exposure to violence (including both witnessing and being a victim of violence) is essential because research shows that the more types of victimization a child or adolescent experiences, the more likely he or she is to be affected physically, socially, and emotionally. Researchers have labeled children who have experienced seven or more types of victimization “polyvictims” and have suggested that “victimization exposure across so many domains may be what leaves these children so particularly distressed. There are relatively few areas of safety for them.” The Polyvictimization and Trauma Identification Checklist and Resource Guide (Checklist) was developed by the Safe Start Center, the American Bar Association (ABA) Center on Children and the Law, and Child & Family Policy Associates to help lawyers and other legal advocates for children recognize the prevalence and impact of polyvictimization3 and perform more trauma-informed legal and judicial system advocacy. The Checklist, along with the Flowchart on Trauma-Informed Actions (Flowchart) below, can be used by children’s attorneys, juvenile defenders, Court Appointed Special Advocates, and other advocates in both the dependency (child welfare) and delinquency (juvenile justice) systems.
Date Created: October 14, 2014