Each year, numerous children testify in the United States in either criminal, civil, or juvenile court cases. Typically, children who testify are alleged victims of sexual or physical abuse or neglect, witnesses to violent crime, or subjects in custodial hearings in civil court. As more maltreatment cases are prosecuted and child custody is contested, an increasing number of children are being called as witnesses in court. Many of these children have already been traumatized by the experiences that led to their need to testify, and participation in the court process can have additional negative effects. This workshop provides an overview of the criminal court process as well as ways to implement specific trauma-informed techniques to support the child witness. This workshop will describe ways to draw from an evidence-based trauma treatment approach, providing psycho-education, relaxation training, cognitive coping and in-vivo exposure, to support child witnesses and reduce the risk of re-traumatization.
Participants will describe at least 3 common fears experienced by the child witness in court
Participants will identify at least two ways to involve and partner with parents to prepare children for the testifying experience.
Participants will learn at least two skills and trauma-informed techniques that can be used to prepare children for the testifying experience.