Trauma-Informed Approaches to Law: Why Restorative Justice Must Understand Trauma and Psychological Coping
(Fall 2013) The Dalhousie Law Journal 501.
33 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2014
Date Written: 2013
Along with the massive shifts and new knowledge generated in the fields of psychological trauma, the brain, and neuroscience, there is an expanding recognition that trauma informed approaches to working with people is an essential part of effective policy, practice, and institutional organization. As a powerful institution in society, law in general and the criminal justice system specifically, regularly encounters and deals with people, both as victims and offenders, whose lives have been shaped and harmed by traumatic events. In this paper we explain the benefits of taking a trauma informed approach to law and outline its consonance with restorative legal approaches. More effective, fair, intelligent and perhaps most importantly, more just legal responses must keep abreast of developments in the field, and work from a perspective which is trauma informed. This can only lead to more humane, sophisticated and effective justice interventions into people’s lives.
Keywords: law and psychology, trauma, trauma informed legal responses, restorative justice
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