Traumatic events often have long-reaching impacts on Washington victims. A recent study found a definitive link between childhood trauma and juvenile arrests. The research is compelling, and even highlights how adverse childhood experiences — ACEs — can cause mental illnesses, substance abuse and chronic health problems.
The link between trauma and arrests
The comprehensive research study looked at how ACEs affect the rate of high school dropouts and arrests by the age of 18. In the study, ACEs covered a wide range of both personal and household adversities that a child might experience. Some examples include:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Witnessing violence
- Parent mental problems
- Parent substance abuse
- Parent incarceration
The study concluded that suspension from school also leads to higher rates of school dropouts and incarceration in youth. This is partially because youth who have high ACEs are more likely to be suspended from school. The problem is particularly prevalent among minority youths, as the researchers concluded that a history of ACEs and suspensions actually creates a compounding effect that leads to higher dropouts, arrests and incarcerations.
Every child in Washington deserves the support he or she needs to address the emotional pains of childhood trauma. Unfortunately, many do not receive any help whatsoever, which can contribute to poor decision making that often leads to juvenile arrests. When a child is facing criminal allegations, it is important for parents, judges and everyone involved to understand the unique challenges that might have contributed to his or her arrest.