What are Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)?

A third of all diagnosed mental health conditions in adulthood are directly related to adverse childhood experiences.

In this video, Andrew Hall explains the importance of Adverse Childhood Experiences.

Member of Safeguarding.Pro can download the slides used in this video here: Adverse Childhood Experiences (PowerPoint)

Adverse Childhood Experiences may be a one-off event, or an ongoing issue. Research carried out in America in the mid-nineties, and later studies in England, and in Wales, show how the greater the number of adverse childhood experiences there are, the more the impact they have throughout adult life.

In the England study, 4,000 people were asked about abuse, drug and alcohol misuse, mental ill-health, domestic violence and being involved with the criminal justice system. The study showed where a young person had experienced four ‘ACEs’ or more, they were eleven times more likely to use illegal drugs, be the victim or perpetrator of violence and to be imprisoned.

The original American study showed how the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences affect people right from conception throughout life. Early ACEs disrupt the development of the brain, which may lead to impairment in the development of social, emotional and cognitive skills and knowledge, often leaving them behind educationally.

People with an increasing number of Adverse Childhood Experiences, adopt behaviours that put their health at risk, increasing further their risk of disease, disability and social problems, and even an early death. The American study found that more than 3 ‘ACEs’ could even lead to dying more than 20 years sooner, than most people who lived without any adverse childhood experiences.

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