Why the Trauma-informed Communities (TiC) Project is needed

A 4-year study by WAVE into what causes people to suffer Severe and Multiple Disadvantage (SMD) – for instance, combinations of addiction, mental health issues, homelessness, unemployment and criminality – identified Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) as a prime cause of severe disadvantage, and suggests that trauma-informed care and trauma-informed communities are the most effective antidote for people who have suffered ACEs. The TIC project was developed as a result of that study.

Read the report arising from the above-mentioned study:
Age 2 to 18 - systems to protect children from severe disadvantage (Walsh 2018)

The Trauma-Informed Communities (TIC) project is a locally-based, locally-led effort to create trauma-informed communities across the UK. Systemic change is driven by the very people who have been reporting that current systems do not understand the trauma behind their problems and hence do not address the needs of the community effectively, if at all. The areas spearheading this community transformation are aiming to:

  • Build ACE aware communities - meaning that everyone gets to understand how and why trauma drives destructive and harmful behaviour, realising there are more effective ways to heal traumas.
  • Build trauma-responsive communities thereby driving a change across services. This will transform relationships with service users. The project uses learning from Canada, Zambia, USA and many trauma-informed communities and states which have succeeded in making radical reductions in a variety of measures (school exclusion/failure, mental ill-health, drug addictions, teenage pregnancies et al)
  • Rebuild the fabric of communities thereby creating wellbeing for all.

Initial activity by grassroots activists in the TiC areas includes:

  • Setting up a steering group (or similar) in each area to drive change and coordinate efforts
  • Introducing the TiC concept to senior leaders in key sectors and winning their support for TiC
  • winning the support of front-line professionals in key sectors, as well as other locals
  • Surveying front-line professionals on their views towards trauma-informed approaches
  • Hosting awareness-raising events, predominantly screenings of the film 'Resilience'

Alongside this work, some groups have also been pursuing their own personal initiatives and passions within the context of the wider goal of creating a TiC. For example:

  • visiting a prison to speak to governors and prison staff
  • working with local media group to create a film about local ACEs
  • sending a shortened copy (15 mins) of the 1 hour film 'Resilience' to the Prime Minister’s home address

…there are many more impressive achievements from these groundbreaking TiCs, and other areas are coming forward wanting to join the journey towards 70/30.

The project is co-ordinated by WAVE Trust, which is collaborating with local organisations and supporting independent grassroots groups in each community.

WAVE is seeking financial support to increase the reach of existing TiCs and to support new areas wishing to adopt this transformational approach.