• January 2014
  • Vol. 15, No. 1

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Traumatic Stress Judicial Benchcards

Research shows that children and youth who are involved with the court system often exhibit high levels of traumatic stress caused by adverse childhood experiences, and this stress often manifests as disruptive, defiant, and/or antisocial behavior. In July 2013, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) released two new judicial benchcards (a benchcard is a set of topic-specific guidelines and questions that should be considered in legal proceedings) developed to help judges better understand and, therefore, make decisions based on the growing scientific research in the area of traumatic stress.

The benchcards NCTSN Bench Card for the Trauma-Informed Judge and NCTSN Bench Card for Court-Ordered Trauma-Informed Mental Health Evaluation of Child: Sample Addendum are available on the NCTSN website:

http://www.ncjfcj.org/sites/default/files/JudgeBenchCards_final.pdf (581 KB)

These cards supplement a larger selection of materials on child and adolescent trauma, available and downloadable from the NCTSN Trauma-Informed Juvenile Justice System Resource webpage:


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