What are adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)?

The term Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) is used to describe a wide range of stressful or traumatic experiences that children can be exposed to whilst growing up.  ACEs range from experiences that directly harm a child (such as suffering physical, verbal or sexual abuse, and physical or emotional neglect) to those that affect the environment in which a child grows up (including parental separation, domestic violence, mental illness, alcohol abuse, drug use or incarceration).

A Blackburn with Darwen study found that almost half (47%) of adults across the Borough have suffered at least one ACE, with 12% of adults in Blackburn with Darwen having suffered four or more ACEs. The study has shown that the more ACEs individuals experience in childhood, the greater their risk of a wide range of health-harming behaviours and diseases as an adult.

The ACE animation below tells the story of a young boy growing up, and how his experience with ACEs could affect his life experience.

More info can be found here: Blackburn Gov.uk – ACEs