Trauma-Informed Lawyering in the Context of Civil Claims for Sexual Violence

Clare Wiper, Nikki Godden-Rasul*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the last decade there has been an increase in civil compensation claims for sexual violence in the UK. Given ‘trauma-informed’ approaches have been called for in relation to legal responses to sexual violence, we put forward seven key principles of trauma-informed lawyering in this context and draw on interviews with UK-based civil lawyers who represent sexual violence survivors to explore the extent to which trauma-informed work is taking place. While we find that our sample of lawyers typically have a very good knowledge of sexual violence and the trauma it can cause, there is less certainty about how to accommodate the impacts into practice. Moreover, there is a tendency to prioritise individual healing and medicalise a form of social injustice. We conclude by emphasising the need for legal training and education on a trauma-informed approach which accounts for the social and political dimensions of sexual violence and trauma.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Law and Society
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Oct 2023

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