Beyond Youth Custody's
programme of review and
consultation, focusing on trauma
and young offenders
Why a conference focusing on trauma?

previous research on young offenders has highlighted these
issues (as has feedback ...
Some highlights from the review work
What trauma is, and what we should focus on
there are wide variations in the way tha...
Much of the available research is focused more generally on
mental health, and is often correlational – an e.g.:
Mental il...
“People with childhood histories of trauma, abuse and
neglect make up almost our entire criminal justice
population.”
Tepl...
Occurrence and impacts – there is a reasonable consensus in the
literature, that:
adverse childhood experiences increase ...
causal links between childhood and adolescent trauma and offending are
not always clearly traced in the available researc...
Next stages of the work involve:

 a national consultation exercise focusing on issues
concerning trauma and the resettle...
Beyond Youth Custody's trauma review and consultation - Mark Liddle
Beyond Youth Custody's trauma review and consultation - Mark Liddle
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Beyond Youth Custody's trauma review and consultation - Mark Liddle

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Mark Liddle, Managing Director of ARCS (UK), Beyond Youth Custody.

Speaking on the headline findings from trauma research at Beyond Youth Custody's conference: Childhood trauma and young people in the criminal justice system, 19 November 2013.

Published in: Health & Medicine
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Beyond Youth Custody's trauma review and consultation - Mark Liddle

  1. 1. Beyond Youth Custody's programme of review and consultation, focusing on trauma and young offenders
  2. 2. Why a conference focusing on trauma? previous research on young offenders has highlighted these issues (as has feedback from young people themselves over a wide range of research projects); Beyond Youth Custody’s programme of issue-based research and practice reviews:  issues concerning trauma have been highlighted repeatedly, in recent feedback from Youth in Focus and other resettlement projects;
  3. 3. Some highlights from the review work What trauma is, and what we should focus on there are wide variations in the way that “trauma” is defined in the literature; some of the literature focuses only on very specific diagnosable conditions that are generated by traumatic experiences (e.g. PTSD), while other studies focus on both traumatic events and impacts as being a “spectrum” or continuum – an e.g. of the latter: Research has shown that traumatic childhood experiences are not only extremely common; they also have a profound impact on many different areas of functioning. For example, children exposed to alcoholic parents or domestic violence rarely have secure childhoods; their symptomatology tends to be pervasive and multifaceted, and is likely to include depression, various medical illnesses, as well as a variety of impulsive and self-destructive behaviors. Approaching each of these problems piecemeal, rather than as expressions of a vast system of internal disorganization runs the risk of losing sight of the forest in favor of one tree. van der Kolk, B. (2005) different types of trauma are often inter-related in complex ways;
  4. 4. Much of the available research is focused more generally on mental health, and is often correlational – an e.g.: Mental illness among prisoners and the general population   Prisoners   General population   Schizophrenia and delusional disorder   8% 0.5%   Personality disorder   66%   5.3%   Neurotic disorder (e.g. depression)   45%   13.8%   Drug dependency   45%   5.2%   Alcohol dependency   30%   11.5%   Source: Singleton et al. (1998) and Singleton et al. (2001)
  5. 5. “People with childhood histories of trauma, abuse and neglect make up almost our entire criminal justice population.” Teplin et al. (2002)
  6. 6. Occurrence and impacts – there is a reasonable consensus in the literature, that: adverse childhood experiences increase the chances that young people will experience traumatic stress, but other factors (e.g. resilience, support, positive relationships) also limit the scope for longer lasting impact of such stress; where adverse experiences are multiple or chronic, the scope for negative impacts on individual health and development is increased, and this can be exacerbated where a pooling up of trauma is also accompanied by a lack of protective factors; “interpersonal traumas” (e.g. involving violence or child abuse) are more likely to increase the risk of subsequent further traumatic experiences and re-victimisation, than “non-interpersonal traumas” (e.g. road accidents, disasters); factors concerning lifestyle, socio-economic circumstances, and environment also play a role in determining complex patterns of traumatic experience .
  7. 7. causal links between childhood and adolescent trauma and offending are not always clearly traced in the available research, although some types of traumatic experience are predictive of offending (e.g. chronic bullying); the impacts of previous trauma are certainly relevant to the effectiveness of direct work with young offenders in terms of engagement however, and also have implications for the way in which we understand individual progress and longer-term outcomes
  8. 8. Next stages of the work involve:  a national consultation exercise focusing on issues concerning trauma and the resettlement of offenders (via online surveys and a programme of one-to-one interviews), and  finalisation of the literature review work, for release with the conference write up.

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