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Adverse Childhood Experiences - ACES

What are ACEs?

ACEs are serious childhood traumas that result in toxic stress that can harm a child's brain.

This toxic stress may prevent a child from learning, from playing in a healthy way with other children, and can result in long-term health problems.


For every 100 adults in England 48 have suffered at least one ACE during childhood and 9 have suffered 9 ore more.

The English National Aces Study interviewed nearly 4000 people, aged 18 - 69 years across England in 2013. Of this cohort, children in england suffered..

Verbal Abuse 18%

Physical Abuse 15%

Sexual Abuse 6%

of these, the household also included..

Parental Separation 24%

Domestic Violence 13%

Mental Illness 12%

Alcohol Abuse 10%

Drug Use 4%

Incarceration 4%

Compared with people with no ACES, those with 4+ are...

2 times more likely to binge drink and have a poor diet

3 times more likely to be a current smoker

5 times more likely to have had sex under 16 years of age

6 times more likely to have had or caused an unplanned teenage pregnancy

7 times more likely to have been involved in violence in the last year

11 times more likely to have used heroin / crack or been incarcerated

What is Resilience?

Resilience is the ability to return to being healthy and hopeful after bad things happen. Research shows that if parents provide a safe environment for their children and teach them how to be resilient, that helps reduce the effects of ACEs.

Resilience trumps ACEs!

Parents, teachers and caregivers can help children by:

Gaining an understanding of ACEs

Helping children identify feelings and manage emotions

Creating safe physical and emotional environments at home, in school, and in neighborhoods

What does resilience look like?

Parents who know how to solve problems, who have healthy relationships with other adults, and who build healthy relationships with their children.

Building resiliance and adults who listen and respond patiently to a child in a supportive way, and pay attention to a child's physical and emotional needs.

Having family, friends and/or neighbours who support, help and listen to children.

Providing children with safe housing, nutritious food, appropriate clothing, and access to health care and good education.

Understanding how parents can help their children grow in a healthy way, and what to expect from children as they grow.

Helping children interact in a healthy way with others, manage their emotions and communicate their feelings and needs.

What we need now is....

Service managers to be aware of ACEs and tell their staff about it for them to signpost families to attend courses.

Practitioners to be aware and make referrals.


Parents to be invited to attend the course to participate and to put into practice what they have learnt.


Commissioners to evaluate the learning, impact and outcomes and continue to weave into mainstream practice.

Click on the link below to view a short film

Who to contact



ACES 101

Triple-P Parenting


Resilience Trumps ACEs

CDC-Kaiser Adverse Childhood

Experiences Study


Zero to Three Guides for Parents



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