The trauma caused by adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) is at the heart of many problems in our society today. This is a national health crisis and it’s time we tackled ACEs effectively.

We have a vision to reduce key ACEs by 70% by the year 2030. We call this the 70/30 Initiative.

With your help, we could see this goal become a reality. Together with masses of local activists, practitioners, charities and politicians, we can make the years between now and 2030 a decade of social transformation.

 

We have worked for two decades to understand and tackle the root causes of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). This is what we’ve achieved so far:

 

WAVE’s first decade: understanding the problems through intensive global research

In the mid-1990s, we discovered that levels of child abuse and neglect hadn’t gone down since the Second World War. Despite many charities doing valuable work to tackle the symptoms, no one was addressing the root causes. We established WAVE to do just that.

Years of dedicated research showed us that much of the abuse that happens in households, as well as many other issues throughout our society, have their roots in early life adversity. Childhood trauma, especially trauma experienced by babies and infants, leads to higher levels of violence, alcoholism, drug addiction, mental illness, heart disease, obesity and many more negative life outcomes. Our findings are summarised in our report Violence and what to do about it.(2005)

Photograph of CEO, George Hosking OBE, delivering a presentation on primary prevention of childhood adversity at Downing Street.

 

WAVE’s second decade: turning this understanding into action

Researching the science is important, but will not achieve large-scale social transformation. Few outside the academic world knew why levels of child abuse and neglect were not dropping and even fewer professionals were being trained to understand the impact of early years’ trauma that so often lays at the heart of this. We needed to raise awareness of this knowledge AND develop practical ways of creating lasting change.

Therefore, our second decade was focused on developing preventive solutions to childhood adversity and working with UK partners to get these adopted in a very tight fiscal environment. To this end, some of our successes include:

  • We brought to the UK two programmes, Family Nurse Partnership and Roots of Empathy, which together have benefitted over 80,000 children and families.

  • We played key roles in our partnership work with various bodies and groups, including advising The Big Lottery when creating their £215million early years A Better Start Project; influencing infant mental health initiatives in Northern Ireland; and enshrining prevention into the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.

  • Through our Early Years Champions Network, our report Conception to age 2 - the age of opportunity in partnership with the Department for Education, our parliamentary partnerships which produced the Critical 1001 Days Manifesto and The Building Great Britons Report, we laid down the blueprints for giving children the best possible start in life.

CEO George Hosking OBE with Dr Paul Williams MP and Sharon Hodgson MP, at one of the 2018 Party Fringe events informing grass roots activists about The 70/30 Initiative.

WAVE’s third decade: A decade of social transformation

From here to 2030, we are seeking partners to help us create sweeping change across the UK, with public services and communities focused on preventing harm and nurturing healthy emotional development, especially during those crucial early years.

To achieve this, WAVE and our growing network of 70/30 Ambassadors will:

  • Work with cross-party groups in all Westminster and devolved Parliaments to push for legislation that meets these aims.

  • Collaborate with local authorities to ensure these changes are piloted and later implemented in all regions.

  • Provide services and communities with the skills to prevent, mitigate and resolve the impact of trauma through our trauma-informed training programme.

  • We will also continue to update our research, support effective initiatives where opportunities arise and raise awareness of the issues and solutions wherever we can.

Through all this, WAVE will play a key role in the wider social shift that is currently underway, ensuring that by the time we reach 2030 we will have achieved the ambitious, but feasible goal of reducing key adverse childhood experiences by 70%.

 

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