Asst. Director Amelia Thorn discusses “onboarding judges” to trauma-informed courts movement

Apr 13, 2023Latest News, Trauma-Informed Courts

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Amelia Ashton Thorn, assistant director at the Bolch Judicial Institute of Duke Law School, spoke about her work on the N.C. Chief Justice’s Task Force on ACEs-Informed Courts in an interview with WHQR, an NPR affiliate station based in Wilmington, North Carolina.

“This movement is really about understanding people and not excusing people, [it’s] at the heart of onboarding judges,” Thorn said in the interview.

Thorn also discussed the task force’s trauma-informed benchcard, a quick reference guide for judges on common best practices for a trauma-informed courtroom. The benchcard offers suggestions regarding courtroom communication and procedures to respond to the reality that courtroom participants have experienced trauma and to prevent further traumatization.

In addition to serving on the Chief Justice’s Task Force, Thorn is currently leading a Duke University Bass Connections project team to formally study the impact of trauma-informed court procedures in the juvenile justice system. This summer, the team will observe courtrooms across North Carolina.

To learn more about the Bolch Judicial Institute’s work, read Bolch Judicial Institute to offer trauma-informed courts curriculum to N.C. judges in the Spring 2023 edition of Duke Law magazine.