Report helps police protect kids while arresting their parents

By Stell Simonton, JJIE.org

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Each year in the United States, several million children witness the arrest of a parent.

These arrests are most likely to be for domestic violence, drug-related incidents and property crimes, according to a report from the Office of Justice Programs Diagnostic Center, an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The experience can be excruciating for children.

“It turns their world upside down,” said Lisa Thurau, founder and executive director of Strategies for Youth: Connecting Cops & Kids, a Cambridge, Mass.-based nonprofit that provides training to both police and youth.

Thurau wrote the report “First Do No Harm: Model Practices When Police Arrest Parents in the Presence of Children.”

“[Children] often want to see domestic violence against the mother stopped, but the way the police conduct the arrest … can scare and traumatize them,” she said.

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