What is The Child Trauma Response Initiative?
The Greenville Police Department’s Child Trauma Response Initiative is a partnership between mental health professionals employed by the police department as Child Trauma Response Victim Advocates, and Law Enforcement Officers. The program goal is to identify and immediately respond to children aged 0-18 and their families who have been exposed to violence or trauma.
Child Trauma Response Victim Advocates are on call 24/7 for immediate crisis response and consultation as needed. Advocates respond with an officer to follow up when immediate crisis response is not necessary. Child Trauma Victim Advocates provide appropriate mental health education about trauma for parents and refer children and families to community resources based on their unique needs and circumstances.
What is Trauma?
Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible experience that causes a child to feel scared or threatened and causes mental or emotional problems, usually for a long time.
Children who have experienced violence or trauma can appear to be frightened, worried, sad, withdrawn, numb or anxious. Trauma shows itself in different ways in different children.
Studies show that children who experience violence and trauma, and who don’t get the help and support that they need, can experience difficulties including mental and physical health problems. However, having a supportive and caring parent, family member or adult in their lives to offer care, reassurance, and hope when bad things happen, is the most important source of help for a child.
Examples of trauma:
- Domestic Violence
- Witnessing violence in the community or schools
- Physical Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Home Break-Ins
- Neglect/Emotional Abuse
- Homelessness or basic needs not being met
- Car accidents
- Witnessing the Arrest/Incarceration of a loved one
Advocates provide crisis response for children when needed, and may continue contact with a family long after the event is over to offer ongoing assessment of needs, support, and encouragement. Follow –up assistance may include:
- Safety planning
- Victim advocacy and support
- Information to help parents/caregivers understand child trauma and what to expect
- Immediate crisis response for children when needed
- Referral to counseling services
- Referral to community resources as needed