Trauma-Informed Approaches to Justice for Youth and Families in Los Angeles County

The planned project addresses the way that the criminal justice system in LA County responds to sexual assault, domestic violence, teen dating violence, and stalking. Our primary focus is on youth who are survivors of violence, and then wind up in the juvenile justice system.

The project goals include reducing the incarceration of youth survivors of violence, addressing the role of race, poverty, and disability in increasing the likelihood of youth incarceration, increasing resources for youth who are in the juvenile justice system, and teaching attorneys, judges, and other professionals about trauma, and ways to interact with survivors of violence that do less harm, and are more effective – that is, “trauma-informed” approaches to lawyering and justice.

Working with other non-profit organizations and court partners in LA, we plan to advance three components of the project:

  • A training program for attorneys, judges, and other court stakeholders about trauma-informed approaches to lawyering and justice
  • Development of a trauma-screening tool for use in the LA juvenile justice system, to increase that likelihood that youth in need will get resources, support, counseling, and alternatives to incarceration
  • Educational programs and workshops for youth in LA County, about surviving violence, coping with trauma, and strategies for avoiding incarceration