Children and adolescents facing neglect, abuse, school or domestic violence, and even homelessness suffer from the consequences of complex trauma. People exposed to such trauma usually have difficulties with self-regulation, depression, trust issues, insecurity, and aggression. Education programs can help children become less accepting of harmful behavior and make them more likely to seek help. Recently, there has emerged a large body of research concerning therapeutic and non-therapeutic interventions that could be used with children experiencing complex trauma. According to Fraser, MacKenzie, and Versnel (2017), children who suffer from abuse or neglect are likely to have emotional and brain development problems.
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These issues are hard to treat especially unless the victims report them. Shinn, Samuels, Fischer, Thompkins, and Fowler (2015) state that Family Critical Time Interventions (FCTIs) are more efficient for addressing the issues of homeless and neglected children. Therefore, the present paper is significant, as it introduces abuse prevention education as an effective method for preventing and treating complex trauma in children.
Effectiveness of Education
Abuse prevention education is a non-therapeutic intervention beneficial for addressing the problems of children who have experienced complex trauma. First, according to Fox, Corr, Gadd, Sim (2014), the intervention can help to avoid abusive behavior for people who have not yet become victims of it. Teaching children at school about how to stand against violence and where to seek help is crucial for trauma prevention. Second, abuse and neglect victims and homeless children may also benefit from the educational programs as they teach not to accept such realities and report the issues to the authorities (Fox et al., 2014).
Disclosure of trauma supports FCTIs and, therefore, makes future interventions more effective (Shinn et al., 2015). Moreover, the abuse prevention teaching is beneficial for improving children’s self-esteem and self-respect. In short, education is helpful for both preventing and addressing the consequences of complex trauma.
Implications for Practice
The present paper supports the call that school authorities should find time for abuse prevention education. While the curriculum is overloaded with important issues, and it is hard to find time for the intervention, school is the most helpful place for the program to be run. Moreover, the findings suggest that specialists in charge of creating and conducting the intervention are to promote harmful behavior disclosure, as it is beneficial for both preventing and addressing the problems children facing neglect, abuse, school or domestic violence, and homelessness (Fraser et al., 2017). In brief, school psychologists are to consider the intervention, as it has significant implications for practice.
School is the place where children feel secure in most cases, which is crucial for the interventions addressing complex trauma. The youth should be taught to report the incidents of harmful behavior, as information disclosure has proven to be beneficial for victims of the offense and for those who have not experienced it. Therefore, abuse prevention education in schools can be an effective non-therapeutic intervention for addressing used with children and adolescents suffering from neglect, abuse, school or domestic violence, and homelessness.
Fox, C., Corr, M., Gadd, D., & Sim, J. (2014). Evaluating the effectiveness of domestic abuse prevention education: Are certain children more or less receptive to the messages conveyed? Legal and Criminological Psychology, 21(1), 212-227. Web.
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Fraser, K., MacKenzie, D., & Versnel, J. (2017). Complex trauma in children and youth: A scoping review of sensory-based interventions. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 33(3), 199-216. Web.
Shinn, M., Samuels, J., Fischer, S., Thompkins, A., & Fowler, P. (2015). Longitudinal impact of a family critical time intervention on children in high-risk families experiencing homelessness: A randomized trial. American Journal of Community Psychology, 56(3-4), 205-216. Web.