Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can refer to a range of experiences from verbal, sexual, or physical abuse; to neglect; substance misuse, or family mental illness. It can also include bullying, poverty, racism, traumatic losses, food shortages, harsh experiences in care, poor academic performance, and living in unsafe environments.
By the age of eight, 7 in 10 children report at least one such experience. These can have significant impacts on children’s lives, even reducing life expectancy by up to 20 years and causing social, emotional, and cognitive impairment, risky behaviours, disability, social exclusion, poor health. Three in four ACE-exposed adolescents develop mental health problems by the age of 18, including self-harm, suicide attempts, and post-traumatic stress disorders.