“I don’t want people to think I’m a criminal”: Calling for more compassionate policing in child and youth mental health

  • Maria Liegghio School of Social Work, York University, Toronto, ON
  • Alexis H. Truong Department of Criminology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON
  • Herberth Canas School of Social Work, York University, Toronto, ON
  • Hamad Al-Bader School of Social Work, York University, Toronto, ON
Keywords: Children and youth, crisis responses, parents, police

Abstract

In this paper, we present the outcomes of a narrative study of thirteen interviews with six child and youth mental health practitioners and seven caregivers with a child between 12 and 24 years old involved with the mental health system and with a history of police involvement. The focus of the interviews was the how young people involved with the mental health system and their caregivers had experienced police encounters. Two main categories of themes emerged. Presented here are the outcomes in terms of the reasons for and nature of the police encounters. Across the interviews, police services were accessed primarily for support to deescalate physical or verbal situations involving a distressed child. As two subcategories, police encounters were described as negative and associated with stigma and criminalization, while positive encounters were associated with the appropriate use of police authority. A call is made for more compassionate policing.

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Published
2020-09-29
How to Cite
Liegghio, M., Truong, A. H., Canas, H., & Al-Bader, H. (2020). “I don’t want people to think I’m a criminal”: Calling for more compassionate policing in child and youth mental health. Journal of Community Safety and Well-Being, 5(3), 120-126. https://doi.org/10.35502/jcswb.151
Section
Original Research