For Youth

This Guide was developed for youth who have experienced, or know someone who has experienced, Complex Trauma. Older youth, adolescents, and young adults can explore the information in this Guide on their own to help make sense of their experiences and understand themselves better. Clinicians, caregivers, and other adults can also use the Guide to have conversations with youth about what Complex Trauma is, how it can impact them, coping strategies that can help and those that can cause problems, and strategies for making things better.

It is a priority to strengthen the professional systems to support LGBTQ youth after sexual assault and other traumas that these youth commonly experience. This 13-minute video features five LGBTQ youth who discuss details of their own trauma experiences related to their respective LGBTQ identities, how they gained resilience, and how professionals helped them in this regard.


As a teen you make important decisions about what—if any—sexual activity is right for you. Agreeing to sexual activity with someone (saying “yes”, or giving “consent”) means that you have freely decided to engage in that activity. If you are pressured emotionally or physically, if you go along because you don’t feel you have a choice or because you don’t know how to get out of the situation (“coercion”), you are not giving consent. Any sexual contact that you do not consent to is sexual assault. You have the right to say “no” if you do not want to do something sexual.

The video introduces the viewer to the needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth who
have experienced trauma. You may use the video as a training tool, for example, during a staff meeting or in supervision
with staff. You can show the video in its entirety or in segments.
However you use this resource, be sure to allow time for discussion after viewing the video. Questions to
facilitate growth, learning, and change follow.

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