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 it properly.

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

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. We found that childhood trauma, especially trauma experienced by babies and infants, leads to higher levels of violence, alcoholism, drug addiction, mental illness, heart disease, obesity and much more. We summarised our findings in 2005 in the report Violence and what to do about it.

 

WAVE’s second decade: turning this understanding into action

Researching the science was important, but not enough on its own. 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 putting it to good use.

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

  • Two programmes we brought to the UK, Family-Nurse Partnership and Roots of Empathy, have benefitted over 80,000 children and families.

  • We’ve 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.

 

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 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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