Guidelines for trauma informed legal practice for lawyers working with adult survivors of human rights violations

31 March 2022
Guidelines for trauma informed legal practice for lawyers working with adult survivors of human rights violations

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Trauma Informed Legal Practice [‘TILP’] describes an approach to providing legal services that is responsive to the needs and experiences of survivors of human rights abuses. Rather than a set of rigid rules for legal practice, TILP requires lawyers to develop a legal practice culture that takes into account the impact of trauma at all stages of service provision and seeks to prioritise client safety and agency throughout legal proceedings.

These Guidelines provide advice for how lawyers can integrate TILP into their work. The Guidelines outline the importance of understanding the impact of trauma on survivors of human rights violations and the prevalence of trauma among clients who experience human rights abuses.

They seek to outline organisational and individual practices that can facilitate effective lawyer-client relationships with diverse communities of survivors. The Guidelines also provide a non-exhaustive set of recommendations for how lawyers can support survivors throughout legal processes to reduce the possibility and impact of re-traumatisation. Finally, they outline ways lawyers can identify and cope with secondary trauma.