Violence

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There is significant research that identifies the strong correlation between experiencing trauma in childhood and violent and aggressive behaviour later on into adulthood. While we have the data to support this is often not acknowledged within various systems. Subsequently the outcome is often that policies and practices can results in re-traumatization, which then inadvertently reinforces the violent and aggressive behaviour. Our society often takes the position of punishment as a way to address the cycle of violence.

The impact of trauma on an individual is often anger and fear and the need to make certain what is uncertain as a way to attend to vulnerability. This can result in the development of values and beliefs that support and encourage systems of retribution and punishment. This then can interfere with ability to more carefully consider the complexity of violence and how we might support healing for both the person who committed the violence and the person who was victim to the violence. The impact of this analysis of violence continues to create further victimization and perpetuates a culture of violence that creates an ongoing cycle which impacts generation after generation.

How we understand the impact of trauma and its connection to violence is important in terms of intervening and addressing the issue. If as a society we do not consider how early childhood trauma impacts later violence and aggression we are at risk for perpetuating the cycle. If we de-personalize the role trauma plays in later violent behaviour it increases our risk for addressing the problem through more punishment and retribution which we know can further traumatize already highly traumatized individuals. If however we take a position of intelligent compassion it allows us to not only positively impact the healing and recovery of the victim (Briere, 2012) of violence, it can also assist us in supporting the individual who acts violently which may then assist in stopping the ongoing cycle of trauma and violence.

"Everyone has a right to have a present and future that are not completely dominated and dictated by the past" - Karen Saakvitne