NCTSN Bench Card for the Trauma-Informed Judge

July 31, 2013

Research has conclusively demonstrated that court-involved children and adolescents present with extremely high rates of traumatic stress caused by their adverse life experiences. In the court setting, we may perceive these youth as inherently disrespectful, defiant, or antisocial, when, in fact, their disruptive behavior may be better understood in the context of traumatic stress disorders. These two Bench Cards provide judges with useful questions and guidelines to help them make decisions based on the emerging scientific findings in the traumatic stress field. These cards are part of a larger packet of materials about child and adolescent trauma available and downloadable from the NCTSN Trauma-Informed Juvenile Justice System Resource Site* and are best used with reference to those materials.