Specialist family lawyer Carrie Laws highlights the importance of a trauma informed approach this sexual abuse and violence awareness week.
Sexual Abuse and Violence Awareness Week runs from 5th to 11th February 2024 and with many of our clients having endured, witnessed or are experiencing the knock on effects of abuse we wanted to reaffirm our commitment to taking a trauma informed approach to our services.
As family law specialists, our role often places us at the frontline, providing guidance and support through some of life’s most severe trials. Adopting a trauma-informed methodology does not imply, as some assume, that we become therapist. Rather, it signifies our commitment to identifying and dismantling the barriers that traumatised clients, including parents and children, encounter when navigating the legal system. Traditionally, the focus has been predominantly on ensuring a trauma-informed approach when dealing with children involved in legal proceedings, which is undoubtedly crucial. The worry is that there tends to be a notable gap in extending the same considerate approach towards parents.
It’s essential to recognise that parents embroiled in care proceedings often have their own histories of trauma, which can be a significant factor leading to their involvement in such situations. By integrating a trauma-informed perspective, we aim to mitigate the intimidation and fear associated with care proceedings, offering a more supportive and understanding environment for parents as well.
Interactions with clients who have experienced trauma may necessitate additional time, as they may find it challenging to recall specific events or details. This is a direct consequence of their traumatic experiences. Embracing a trauma-informed approach means being prepared for a longer process to build trust and gather vital information. While it may seem counterintuitive in a profession driven by efficiency and targets, this investment in patience and understanding leads to a less anxious client and a more streamlined process over time.
During this awareness week, we highlight our commitment to not only being legal experts but also compassionate allies to those we represent. By adopting a trauma-informed practice across the board, including towards parents in care proceedings, we live out our core values of bravery, empathy, and innovation. We are dedicated to supporting our clients and colleagues alike, ensuring a more positive future for families navigating through the complexities of abuse and violence.
Through understanding, patience, and unwavering support, we continue to champion family law as a force for good, aligning with our vision and mission to shape a brighter future for all families in our communities.
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