Is There A Connection Between Childhood Trauma And Criminal Behavior?

One of the most common issues that arises during my representation of juvenile clients as a Garden Grove juvenile delinquency lawyer is to what extent their upbringing contributed to the conduct that brought them into court. 

While study after study has demonstrated a powerful link between childhood hardship and later anti-social behavior, only recently have there been studies comparing the frequency of negative childhood events in juvenile offenders with a broad, general sample from the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) database.

The ACE database has been compiled as a result of a long-term collaboration between Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, California and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. With over 17,000 participants, ACE sought to determine if a link existed between childhood trauma and health, social and economic consequences. The results were overwhelmingly conclusive: There is a powerful connection between negative childhood experiences and later risks surrounding criminality and other negative social consequences. This is important information to understand as a juvenile delinquency attorney in Garden Grove.

The questionnaire sought information on negative childhood experiences that occurred before the subject’s 18th birthday, relating to categories of abuse, (whether psychological, physical or sexual), neglect and household dysfunction. Added to this were questions regarding substance abuse, mental illness and whether a family member had been incarcerated. Study after study using this data established a strong connection between those reporting abuse during childhood and their own later willingness to engage in violence, whether sexual or physical, on the order of eight to forty-five times more likely. There is an increasing body of data that has examined criminal offenders and found they were four times more likely than average to report the negative childhood incidents.

It is vital for my defense of juveniles as a Garden Grove juvenile delinquency attorney that I gain an understanding of how they have been raised and whether they have been exposed to some of the trauma discussed here. We make every effort to bring to the court’s attention all the influences in the child’s life that could have contributed to the choices they made that brought them before the court. In doing this, a fairer, fuller picture of a child is presented and better outcomes may be achieved. Contact me if you need a juvenile delinquency lawyer in Garden Grove to advocate for your child's rights.