How to Support Youth Impacted by Commercial Sexual Exploitation During Testimony
Find Guidance & Resources for Youth & Adults in the Victim Witness Testimony Protocol
Supporting youth impacted by commercial sexual exploitation when they are called to testify in criminal court proceedings against their traffickers is essential for youth’s safety, mental health, and well-being. Without adequate support during testimony and the criminal court process, children and youth called to testify against their exploiters may experience additional trauma that only worsens the trauma they experienced prior to and during their trafficking.
This Victim Witness Testimony Protocol provides clear processes, checklists, and planning to best support youth and guides supportive adults how they can assist youth before, during, and after the process of providing testimony.
This Victim Witness Testimony Protocol includes resources and guidelines such as:
- A clear and timely notification process to inform collaborative partners and the youth of the upcoming testimony, which allows sufficient time to prepare
- How to create a supportive environment for youth witnesses through a multidisciplinary Victim Witness Support Team to provide victim-centered, trauma-informed care and support
- Planning considerations for testimony that encompasses pre-, day-of and post- testimony considerations, such as courtroom logistics, clothing, food, medication, transportation, mental health care, and safety planning
The National Center for Youth Law created this model protocol in collaboration with Los Angeles County, community-based organizations that support youth impacted by commercial sexual exploitation, and survivors of commercial sexual exploitation.