Monroe County, Indiana candidate for prosecutor acknowledges the need for the criminal justice system to recognize the effects of trauma on children

Margie Rice, a candidate for prosecutor in Monroe County, Indiana, recently published the following press release on her campaign website,

For immediate release

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Rice calls for community summit on trauma effects

County Prosecutor candidate Margie Rice is calling for a community conversation with family trauma experts, social service organization leaders, and justice systems officials to discuss the effects of family trauma on children.

“Exposure to crime, domestic abuse, and violence of any nature are a sadly common occurrence to far too many children,” Rice said.  “The effects on those children and, eventually, to our entire society, are something the criminal justice system should better understand.”

“I intend to have the Office of Prosecutor be an active participant in societal issues that impact public safety and community well-being,” she said.  “The Prosecutor cannot solve all our county’s problems but must lead the conversation on matters of social justice.”
Rice pointed to research showing that exposure to violence can have serious and long-lasting consequences on a child’s mental and physical health.  “Those children are at increased risk for emotional and behavioral problems that make them more likely to be victims or perpetrators of violent crime as teens or adults,” she said. “Early intervention, treatment and education IS crime prevention.”

 Rice has already discussed the topic publicly and knows there are experts in our community who are seriously concerned about the effects of family trauma on children.  “Our real public health crisis may, indeed, be pain and trauma.  We need to bring the same spotlight to the critical issue of what’s happening with children as we have with the opioid epidemic.  Many people who are now addicted are self-medicating because of their childhood pain and trauma.” she said.

Rice said that startling statistics, with which few people are familiar, paint a disturbing picture that she wants to bring to light as Prosecutor.  National facts include:

• 683,000 child abuse and neglect cases were reported to U.S. child protective services in 2015;

• About 24% of those children experience victimization in their first year of life;

• At least 1,670 children died from abuse or neglect in 2015;

• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate the total economic burden resulting from new cases of child maltreatment to cost the nation in excess of $124 billion per year in 2012 dollars.

 Rice said multiple studies have shown the effect of childhood trauma leads to improper brain development, impaired cognitive skills, socio-economic imbalance, lower language development, myriad health issues, addictions, and crime.

 “Domestic abuse and other forms of violence need to be fully recognized for how insidious they are,” Rice said.  “Our local Child in Need of Service cases are increasing at alarming rates. Trauma is real, it’s here, and we need to do something now.”




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