Childhood Trauma and Its Effects: Implications for Police
Date:  07-15-2015

Police are being trained to recognize mental health problems among young people who suffered from trauma
Earlier this month the National Institute of Justice released a paper that discusses how repeated trauma affects young children and how police departments can train their officers to recognize the signs of trauma in young children and teenagers therey being more effective in reducing mental health problems in the community, and being perceived as less threatening in the eyes of traumatized young people.

The NIJ stated: For children, repeated exposure to violent trauma, particularly in the absence of parental nurture, support and protection that might mitigate the impact of such trauma, can have devastating effects on their psychiatric and neuropsychiatric development. This paper summarizes current understanding of the effects of ongoing trauma on young children, how these effects impair adolescent and young adult functioning, and the possible implications of this for policing.

The author argues that while children from any neighborhood can be exposed to violent trauma, children from poor communities of color are particularly at risk for such exposure. Because these communities are often the focus of police attention, it is important that police be aware of the high prevalence of severe childhood trauma in such communities, appreciate its effects on the developing child, and understand its impact on adolescent and adult functioning. With this knowledge, police officers have a greater capacity to help decrease the prevalence of this major public mental health problem.

Read “Childhood Trauma and Its Effects: Implications for Police” here.