What are ACEs
Adverse Childhood Experiences, (ACEs) are stressful or traumatic experiences that can have a huge impact on children and young people throughout their lives.
The ten widely recognised (ACEs), as identified in a US study from the 1990s, are:
Growing up in a household where:
- there are adults with alcohol and drug use problems
- there are adults with mental health problems
- there is domestic violence
- there are adults who have spent time in prison
- parents have separated
As well as these 10 ACEs there is a range of other types of childhood adversity that can have similar negative long-term effects. These include bereavement, bullying, poverty and community adversities such as living in a deprived area, neighbourhood violence etc.
Why do ACEs matter?
Adversity in childhood can create harmful levels of stress which impact healthy brain development. This can result in long-term effects on learning, behaviour and health.
ACEs have been found to be associated with a range of poorer health and social outcomes in adulthood and that these risks increase as the number of ACEs increase.