Universal precautions: A methodology for trauma-informed justice
This article is related directly to the 6th International Law Enforcement & Public Health (LEPH) Virtual Conference in March 2021.
Keywords:Trauma Informed, Police, Justice System, Victim Offender Overlap
The research clearly indicates that the vast majority of individuals involved in the justice system who display offending behaviour have experienced trauma, victimization, or Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Knowing this to be empirically factual raises the question, why is this not highlighted in the training of police officers, correctional officers, parole and probation officers, crown prosecutors, defence lawyers, and judges alike? An understanding of the Justice Client and their complex trauma could have important consequences on how all justice actors interact with people who experience the justice system. Knowing that these individuals were often victims long before they were offending could bring a more compassionate lens to the justice system. Having traumatic experiences is not the cause of offending, but it is often present in the offending population. The prevalence of trauma among the offending population, who themselves have often traumatized their victims, suggests a much-needed change in how police are trained to interact with Justice Clients. This paper applies the concept of Universal Precautions from first aid training in the development of practical policy to create a justice system based in compassion.
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