Trauma effects on children must be considered

Child trauma web

Barnardo's Scotland is calling for those that work with youngsters to consider the effects that traumatic experiences can have on children

25th January 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Those who work with children have been urged to consider the effects trauma can have on youngsters.

Barnardo’s Scotland has highlighted the importance of trauma-informed practice, with a debate on the issue having taken place in the Scottish Parliament this week.

The charity is calling on the Scottish Government to ensure that current national priorities - such as closing the poverty related attainment gap and improving mental health - have a core focus on the impact of trauma on a child’s ability to learn and thrive.

Kirsten Hogg, director of policy at Barnardo's Scotland, said she was delighted with the level of interest shown at the debate.

“The impact of early trauma and adversity on a child can be severe and enduring,” she said. “Whether this is parental divorce or imprisonment, substance misuse, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, bereavement or loss, these early experiences can have a huge impact on a child’s development, their ability to learn and their mental health and wellbeing.

“Trauma-informed practice should be central to any work with children and young people, not just specialist services. Responses and behaviours associated with early trauma can often manifest themselves in a school environment and are too often misconstrued as bad behaviour requiring discipline rather than support.”

The member’s debate – which had to be extended by 30 minutes due to the number of MSPs who wanted to contribute – was hosted by SNP MSP for Caithness Gail Ross.

She said: “I was first introduced to the concept in 2013, when psychologist and attachment expert Suzanne Zeedyk came to Highland Council and gave a talk about childhood trauma.

“This invaluable experience opened my eyes to the way that childhood trauma affects lives and can have a lasting impact. I called the debate in the Scottish Parliament to raise both awareness and to champion the organisations who are doing so much to tackle this issue.”