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Painful Secrets: Helping Traumatized Girls in Pennsylvania's Juvenile Justice System

Publication year: 2001  |  Cataloged on: Nov 23, 2011

This report offers information on helping traumatized girls in Pennsylvania's juvenile justice system. According to the introduction, 'Researchers and practitioners alike are beginning to suspect that one vital key to understanding and reaching female delinquents may lie in the traumatic personal histories of so many of the girls themselves. According to this emerging view, traumatic memories - and the ability to keep those memories safely in the past - may explain a great deal about the offending behavior of delinquent girls, their puzzling responses to current attempts to help, their strangely clouded futures. If this population is 'difficult,' as so many in the trenches attest, unresolved trauma may be the reason why. And the health, well-being, and rehabilitative prospects of these girls may depend on the system's capacity to recognize, understand and treat it. This issue... will describe an ambitious two-year effort, funded by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), to 1) develop and field-test a flexible but effective treatment response to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in delinquent female adolescents and 2) provide education regarding PTSD and its effects to virtually everyone in the state's juvenile justice system whose responsibilities bring them into contact with girls.'


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