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Children in Crisis (From Crisis Intervention in Criminal Justice/Social Service, Fourth Edition, P 155-196, 2006, James E. Hendricks, Bryan D. Byers, eds., -- See NCJ-215593)

NCJ Number
Cindy S. Hendricks
Date Published
42 pages
This chapter provides an overview of children in crisis, focusing on child victims of crime, child development, and crisis intervention.
Children can experience many different types of crisis situations, including crime victimization. The primary and secondary victimization of children and its consequences for the child victim are described, particularly in terms of how children deal with trauma. In order to effectively intervene in crisis situations involving children it is necessary to have an understanding of child development. Understanding how a child cognitively and emotionally develops helps a crisis intervener know what information children are capable of providing as witnesses to crimes and also facilitates an understanding of the emotional responses of children to traumatic events. Research on the language, cognition, personality, and social development of children is reviewed with an emphasis on how children of different ages are likely to respond as crime victims and witnesses. The discussion next turns to an examination of traditional and innovative intervention procedures for children in crisis. Traditional intervention procedures involve the two primary goals of determining whether a criminal act has occurred and providing help and support for the entire family. Following the initial crisis and response, traditional approaches to interventions typically offer continued monitoring and follow-up services. Innovative intervention procedures involve the use of multidisciplinary teams composed of both criminal justice agencies and social service agencies as well as medical personnel and counselors to coordinate and deliver the investigation and intervention strategy. The use of a promising new therapy called bibliotherapy is currently being used in some family courts to help children recover from trauma and to prepare children for court testimony. The author calls for those involved in crisis intervention work with children to explore the many uses of children’s books as a means to resolve children’s crises. The chapter concludes with discussion questions, simulated exercises, tables of child development, and a listing of Internet resources. Appendix, references