Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE)

What are ACEs?


The Resilience Framework *contains information and videos, along with notes to set targets and track progress, to work on building resilience for those who have been impacted by ACE.




Click on the image to watch a short animated film developed to raise awareness of ACEs, their potential to damage health across the life course and the roles that different agencies can play in preventing ACEs and supporting those affected by them

The film has been produced for Public Health Wales and Blackburn with Darwen Local Authority.



Click on the image to watch Paediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explain that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.


The ten widely recognised ACEs, as identified in a US study from the 1990s, are:


  • physical
  • sexual
  • verbal


  • emotional
  • physical

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.


Further reading (click links to view):

The Adverse Childhood Experiences evidence base–a wake-up call to radically redesign Children’s Mental Health Services.

ACEs and Toxic Stress: Frequently Asked Questions







A Crying Shame – A report by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner into vulnerable babies in England.

Nearly 16,000 babies are growing up in households where they are at risk of severe harm, a report by England’s Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield, warns.

The report says that of 19,640 under-ones identified as being “in need”, 15,820 were still living at home.

It also estimates that 8,300 babies are growing up amid the “toxic trio” of drug or alcohol addiction, domestic violence and severe mental ill-health.

The government says its Domestic Abuse Bill will tackle these sorts of issues.



Addressing Adversity

Prioritising adversity and trauma-informed care for children and young people in England.

YoungMinds compiled this collection to raise awareness about the impact of adversity and trauma on the mental health of children and young people.






Scottish Public Health Network (ScotPHN)
‘Polishing the Diamonds’
Addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences in Scotland

Welsh Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study

Adverse Childhood Experiences and their impact on health-harming behaviours in the Welsh adult population.

The impact of adverse experiences in the home on the health of children and young people, and inequalities in prevalence and effects






Additional websites (click to view)

Violence Prevention

Learning from Oklahoma’s Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Story

Adverse Childhood Experiences Presentation Graphics

Learning from Wisconsin’s Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Story

Learning from Washington’s Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Story

Centre for youth wellness


* © This Resilience Framework was originated from Professor Angie Hart and Dr Derek Blincow with Helen Thomas in 2007. for further details. Thanks to Angie and colleagues for their support in helping us develop this online version.