Asking “what happened to you?” instead of “what’s wrong with you?” Women who have experienced trauma are likely to continue to cycle through criminal justice and behavioral health crisis systems until we offer a full continuum of trauma-informed services. These include screening, assessment and effective engagement in evidence supported practice, with continuing support for women and their families. Change how you approach the conversation from one that may be interpreted as victim blaming (“what’s wrong with you”) to inquiring earnestly about women’s experiences (“what happened to you?”). This shifts the view of trauma survivors from “sick” or “bad” to people who have been injured. Research shows that trauma survivors can and do overcome traumatic experiences with appropriate support and intervention.
Trauma-Informed Care: Principles & Practices for Justice-Involved Women with Serious Mental Illness and Co-Occurring Substance Use (2015)
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