One of the realities about childhood trauma in the home is that when it is detected the first individuals on the scene of the trauma are law enforcement officers. Also there are multiple incidences of domestic violence and/or struggles that often involve law enforcement. These officers are placed in positions to resolve conflicts as well as protect the children in the family.
In a recent article by Owen Tucker-Smith in the Yale News there is an announcement that can help officers understand the impact of trauma on the children they encounter who have been trauma-impacted. The New Haven Police Department and the Yale Child Study Center have released a Tool Kit designed to help police by providing them with tools to hear, understand and support children who are in adverse situations. Here is a quote from this article:
After more than three decades of collaboration, the New Haven Police Department and the Yale Child Study Center released their trauma-informed police training toolkit that will now be adopted on the national level.
The program is designed to educate officers who often come into contact with trauma-affected individuals, particularly young children. Through the program, officers learn the psychological effects of trauma and how to identify symptoms through a method of questioning and observation. The center released its first child trauma curriculum in 2017 as part of a collaboration with the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Two years later, the NHPD implemented a training based on this curriculum, becoming the first police department in the nation to offer a training of this kind for its officers. Now, after approval from the IACP, the curriculum has become available online for police departments across the United States.
I am encouraged that tools and training like this are being developed and circulated among our police departments. They have been the topic of much criticism in our country. The impact of this and other training that is being developed can provide a new lens for children and adults who they encounter who have experienced traumatic events. Programs like this will be another step towards trauma-informed policing. I hope to see more programs like this to be developed as we work towards a whole society that is aware and attuned to the impact of trauma in children and families.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO