Adverse Childhood Experiences Are current systems preventive/supportive? Here (and below) is some feedback from focus groups: 'Here we are in the 21st century, they were supposed to be there to support me – and what they actually did was bring me to my knees. I could have either committed suicide or had a breakdown' 'After I saw the screening of the Resilience film I was full of anger, over unmet need' (Focus group attendee, August 2018) What are Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)? ACEs is a term developed by researchers Dr Vincent Felitti & Dr Robert Anda to describe specific experiences of childhood trauma, defined as 'intra-familial events or conditions causing chronic stress responses in the child's immediate environment. These include notions of maltreatment and deviation from societal norms'. These damaging traumatic experiences include (but are not limited to): physical abuse; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; physical neglect; emotional neglect; witnessing domestic violence; substance abuse in the home; separation or divorce of parents; household member suffering mental illness; household member (usually parent) being incarcerated. Trauma in childhood can lead to toxic stress. Toxic stress refers to very high levels of stress with no buffer - nobody to turn to for support or understanding. What is resilience?Resilience is the ability to suffer setbacks, recover from them, and weather the trials of life. Often when a child/adult has resilience one finds that there was a special person or persons in their life who gave them hope or made them feel safe, understood and supported; someone that he or she trusted to be there. Why is it important to understand ACEs?Childhood trauma is the root of many of our social problems and many physical health problems. The UK and US ACEs studies show clearly that ACEs can lead to over 80 negative life outcomes including heart disease, liver and lung disease, obesity, diabetes, criminality, educational failure, welfare dependency and mental ill-health. It's only by understanding ACEs that we can effectively heal the hurt and thereby give everyone the power and freedom to transform their lives. Healing ACEs will stop the transmission of trauma to subsequent generations and the hefty costs of picking up the pieces of damaged lives. Prevention and healing of ACEsImplementing trauma-informed understanding in our local support systems and promoting the prevention of ACEs is the ultimate goal. Only 3-5% of public spending is spent on prevention. At least 40% of local authority spending is incurred because prevention is on the back burner. Where ACEs have occurred we can heal the trauma most effectively using a trauma-informed approach. WAVE developed the Trauma-informed Communities (TiC) project to do this throughout communities with 'experts by experience' leading the way. More focus groups comments from people who said they were never asked about their trauma: 'Imagine you go to your GP, and they know your ACE score, and they treat you with compassion. Because they know what hell you have been through' 'I found school my safe place. Out of the house. That was my salvation' 'Communities need to have funding, to create long-term solutions' N.B Trauma can affect individuals as well as entire communities. Treating trauma can take many forms depending on the needs of the individual. For example, some severely traumatised people require specific interventions such as intensive PTSD treatment (e.g. George Hosking's 'End to Violence' programme for (i) violent offenders; (ii) children who suffered extreme abuse and/or neglect), CBT, EMDR, etc.