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Adverse Childhood Experience and Trauma Informed Environments

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What are Adverse Childhood Experience and Trauma Informed Environments?

Adverse childhood experiences are traumatic events, particularly those in early childhood, that significantly affect the health and well-being of people.

These experiences range from suffering verbal, mental, sexual and physical abuse, to being raised in a household where domestic violence, alcohol abuse, parental separation or drug abuse is present.” Public Health Wales

In 2016, Public Health Wales published the first Welsh Adverse Childhood Experiences study, showing how widely they were spread and their impact. They also produced short infographics to support the full reports:

There were also reports on the impact of mental wellbeing and homelessness.

The ACE Support Hub was set up to collate all the information and build the evidence base and best practice around ACEs and the response to them.

The Future Generations Commissioner for Wales states that: “Preventing and mitigating the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences is a cross-cutting theme and is essential to future generations’ health and well-being.” 

The Children’s Commissioner for Wales, whilst supportive of the work of ACEs, has also identified other risk factors that will need to be factored in alongside ACEs to ensure a whole person approach is taken. 

The Welsh Government review of ACEs identified that: “Our approach to raising awareness of childhood adversity should support parents and must avoid unintended consequences, like stigmatisation or increasing preventable statutory interventions. A narrow focus only on parental behaviours should also be avoided. Preventing adverse childhood experiences requires attention to the wider social and economic contexts of family life.”

Trauma Informed Environments (TIE), Trauma Informed Practice (TIP), or Psychological Informed Environments (PIE) are the response to ACEs. Increasing individual and community resilience, preventing future ACEs, and reducing the impact of ACEs.

Cymorth Cymru comment that: “Psychologically Informed Environments take into account the psychological makeup – the thinking, emotions, personalities and past experience of trauma – of its participants in the way that it operates.”

Help and Support

For victims, families and concerned people

ACEs and TIE/ TIP/ PIE all identify trauma and historic trauma. Specialist support may be required, or support depending on how a person has responded. It is therefore appropriate to identify support and services available for any behaviour as a result, see Dewis Cymru and search for support services.

Housing Associations, Criminal Justice, Education and a range of other services are increasingly utilising the research and best evidence-based research to respond. If you are involved with any of these, please speak with them. If an ACE is due to a specific action, then see help and support under each of the topic areas.