True Justice System
The True Justice System is an integrated set of programs and practices that provide the comprehensive, compassionate caring support necessary to facilitate the achievement of healthy healing.
Empowering the survivor to communicate their story is the heart of this model. They are guided through the healing process until they can create a victim impact statement that reveals the true effect of violence on their life and on the community. This is a grueling task for a survivor; it requires great courage and determination to overcome the excruciating grief and anger that are natural symptoms of violent injury. True Justice is achieved when their story becomes a testimony that enlightens both the criminal justice system and the community about the true effects of violence.
When victims receive the comprehensive, compassionate caring that empowers them to achieve healthy healing, this has a powerful impact on the effects of violence in the entire community. It breaks the cycle of anger and violence. Each survivor and co-victim* who has the courage to achieve healthy healing develops the strengths, skills and knowledge to be a source of healing to others. Each one becomes a balm to society, a person capable of guiding other victims along the journey to healthy healing. This empowers survivors, co-victims and their communities to develop greater resilience, healthier healing and better solutions for problems related to violence, natural disaster and other types of traumatic loss.
Breaking the Silence Interventions allow survivors who have achieved healthy healing toshare their stories with the community. This helps both the victims and their community to rebuild after a crisis and help them to have confidence that the criminal justice system can do more to protect them. The community becomes safer, healthier, stronger and empowered to solve more of its own problems.
The volunteer program is the cornerstone of the Center’s ability to provide services. Support group sessions are set up in such a way that they do double-duty as training sessions for volunteers. The experience, training, and support that survivors and co-victims receive as they work toward writing their victim impact statements also give them the knowledge and skills needed to pursue a career as a victim service provider if they choose. Victims are empowered and encouraged to become leaders in the organization, in their communities, and in the field of victim services.
* Co-victims are the many family members and friends of crime victims and trauma survivors. Their lives too are injured by the traumatic event, and they too need support and information to create healthy healing.
Action Step Change Management Model
It is very important for traumatized people to receive appropriate support after the sudden, unplanned changes to their lives that were forced upon them by violence. CTJH advocates the use a modified change management model to support clients. This system helps them to develop and navigate an individualized, trauma-informed path to healthy healing.
THE CTJH ACTION STEP CHANGE MANAGEMENT MODEL is a system that gently nurtures and facilitates the unfreeze-change-refreeze dynamic of healthy healing. It provides the support and safety needed to overcome the paralysis of fear so that shifting, changing and establishing a new equilibrium can take place (Levine, 2010). The guidance and support it provides reduce the risk of additional loss (re-victimization), decrease the natural resistance to change, and help people to discover a personal vision of new possibilities, hope, and transformation.
This model is based on the social change theory of Kurt Lewin (Lewin, 1947; Schein, 1999) and on Judith Herman’s definition of trauma as “events that overwhelm the ordinary systems of care that give people a sense of control, connection, and meaning” (Herman, 1997, p. 33). Like the Sanctuary Model, it is founded on the principle that healing from trauma is dependent on sharing and integration with others to receive the social support and guidance that are critical to human development and healthy healing (Bloom, 2013, p. 58). Similar to Peter Levine’s method of Somatic Experiencing (Levine, 2010), this system provides safety and support to assist traumatized people in gradually overcoming the fear and paralysis of trauma so they can shift and change, transforming the trauma and building new lives.
New and promising possibilities are there, but when their lives have been shattered by trauma people become stuck in a no-win situation when the paralysis of fear and the natural resistance to change prevent them from adapting to the new situation in an effective way. Fear, stress and feelings of powerlessness impede constructive change unless there is positive and supportive intervention. CTJH advocates, using the Action Step Change Management system, empower traumatized people to develop a new vision for their lives and to naviogate a deliberate, personalized step-by-step process of planned change leading to this vision.
Step 1: Define New Possibilities
• When there is a traumatic loss it creates extreme stress, anxiety and fear, and therefore resistance to change.
• People who experience traumatic loss can never return to the state they were in before the trauma; they need to discover new possibilities for their lives in order to heal.
• When people find the courage to discover new possibilities for their life, this creates hope.
• The advocate is a healed healer who says I know what you are feeling, I’ve been where you are, but now I have these new things in my life.
Step 2: Create the Vision
• People need to be able to see that the change is vital to their survival.
• A compelling vision of new possibilities is encouraging and motivating.
• Advocates and clients come together through the shared vision.
• Hope is strengthened.
Step 3: Work the Vision
• A calm gentle process of sharing details of the vision strengthens values and trust in the advocate-client relationship.
• Use all possible mediums of communication to help the client keep their vision constantly in mind.
• Identify the specific goals that define the client’s vision.
• Transformation and healing take place, increasing acceptance of the change.
Step 4: Identify the Obstacles
• Identify the obstacles the client must overcome along the pathway to reaching their new vision.
• Discuss obstacles such as fear, lack of family or community support, lack of resources, lack of trust, and grief.
Step 5: Transform Obstacles into Short-Term Action Steps
• Address the client’s fears and the support they will need.
• Educate the client about the effects of trauma and the solutions to the problems it creates.
• Define short-term steps the client can take toward achieving the goals that define their vision of a new life.
• Action steps can include things like group work, education about the criminal justice system that will allow the client to participate in the process, applying for victim compensation, reconnecting with the community by telling their story on a victim impact panel.
Step 6: Adjust & Affirm the Change
• Advocate and client discuss the progress of the change and whether it is going to achieve the client’s vision.
• If there are changes that need to be made in the action steps to reach the goal, they should be moderate and gentle to avoid fear and preserve the vision.
Step 7: Cultivate the Change
• A calm gentle process of following through on the changes that have been made to strengthen trust and confidence.
• Support for the change in one-on-one and group work increases resilience, empowerment, and stability.
Step 8: Evaluate, Reinforce and Reward
• Evaluate the changes that were achieved and share the achievement with others
• Reconnecting with community through Breaking the Silence outreach event where clients have the opportunity to tell their story, and raise awareness in the community.
HEALTHY HEALING FROM TRAUMA
When we are exposed to too much danger and too little protection it causes damage to all areas of life (Bloom, 2013, p. 78). It destroys the foundation of our sense of safety and meaning. Our sense of trust and our assumption that the world is benevolent are shattered. Our belief in fairness and justice vanishes. Our sense of own reality and our connectedness with other people is broken; we can feel worthless, helpless, and hopeless. We suffer a profound loss of faith. Life can become completely restructured around the trauma.
HEALTHY HEALING means becoming whole again after the trauma. A person who has experienced healthy healing after trauma is empowered to develop all areas of their life again: Physical, mental, social, emotional, financial, and spiritual. The fear and brokenness caused by the trauma no longer keep them paralyzed and unable to live a meaningful, self-actualized life. They have a new vision for their present and future life because the traumatic memories no longer keep them hostage to the past. And they are reconnected with other people and with the community. As someone who has navigated this pathway, they also contribute to the resilience of their family and community.
Bloom, S. L. (2013). Creating Sanctuary: Toward the evolution of sane societies. New York, NY: Routledge.
Herman, J. L. (1997). Trauma and recovery. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Levine, P. A. (2010). In An Unspoken Voice: How the body releases trauma and restores goodness. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
Lewin, K. (1947). Frontiers in group dynamics. Human Relations, 1(1), 5-41. doi:10.1177/001872674700100103
Schein, E. H. (1999, August). Kurt Lewin's Change Theory in the Field and in the Classroom: Notes Toward a Model of Managed Learning. Reflections, 1(1), pp. 59-74.