Friday, November 5, 2021

Aidan will be running 10km around Hyde Park for Giving Tuesday to raise funds for WAVE Trust and its 70/30 Campaign to reduce child maltreatment by 70% by 2030. Donate to WAVE Trust here.


For the last 4 years, I've spent every week reading about all manner of abuses, neglect and adversities that children can endure. Most people think my job must be miserable. In truth, it's inspirational.

Working at a charity like WAVE Trust that specialises in trauma does bring you into contact with the sad stories quite often, but you hear the uplifting ones too. Every week, I come across more case studies of schools who have managed to reduce exclusion rates and early years services who have helped more infants get off to a great start in life, all through their staff having a better understanding of how to support children who've experienced trauma. A&E, hostels, psychiatric wards, police forces, prisons - the list of services and sectors who have achieved brilliant turnarounds is endless. The last example I saw was merely one hour before writing this blog. I doubt I'll have to wait more than 7 days to see another.

I'm not the only one either - the more positive results that emerge, the greater the enthusiasm for trauma-informed practice becomes. The term has gone from being virtually unknown only a few years ago to a buzzword in local authority circles. Trauma has moved from the sphere of academics and therapists alone into the general consciousness of frontline practitioners. Countless managers across the UK are asking how they can take this to the next level and spread awareness across the wider community too. It feels like we're at a turning point where the end results will benefit us all.

Donate to WAVE Trust


A fortunate upbringing, with some blemishes

I've been blessed with two parents, a step-parent, a sister and other close family and friends who are all very loving and supportive. It's a fortunate position to be in. Yet I haven't been entirely spared the experience of adversity, nor the effects of it. Domestic abuse is sadly something our family is no stranger to (for clarification, the perpetrators don't include any family members), whereas I can understand in hindsight how experiencing parental separation at an early age may have had it's long-term effects. Other experiences could be added to that list too.

Though I am broadly happy, confident and lucky as a person, I still feel the impact all this has likely had on my mind and body on a daily basis. It's one of the reasons that the groundswell of interest and action in this field is a source of so much inspiration to me - every new case study is another few hundred (or thousand) people who get to have a more positive story to tell.

But it's not enough to simply have positive stories - we need the storytellers too.

Donate to WAVE Trust


Let's get the word out there

This is where 70/30 Campaign ambassadors come in. In support of the campaign's goal to reduce child maltreatment (abuse, neglect, domestic violence) by 70% by 2030, these champions - many of whom have experienced childhood adversity themselves - spread the word about trauma, trauma-informed practice and, crucially, trauma-prevention to MPs, councillors and others with the influence to make change happen. It's people like this who we need to support if we are to capitalise on the wonderful opportunity this surging interest in childhood adversity has granted us to turn the UK into a series of trauma-informed nations.

This is why I'll be running 10km through Hyde Park on what will probably be a cold, muddy day on 30th November to raise funds to support these ambassadors to spread awareness far and wide. The money will go towards providing what support the ambassadors themselves have said they need the most - training, campaign tools and the establishment of a peer support network.

Any support you could give would be much appreciated. The only thing I ask for besides that is that we stay optimistic. There is no end of tragic stories in the world of trauma that could bring us down, but there are also countless positive tales of intervention, recovery and prevention too.

The UK is ready for a trauma-informed transformation - let's help take it past the finish line.

Donate to WAVE Trust



Aidan Phillips is Trauma-informed Communities Project Manager at WAVE Trust.