Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)

Potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood and that can have a huge effect on the rest of a person’s life.

The ten widely recognised ACEs are:

  • abuse – physical, sexual or verbal;
  • neglect – emotional or physical; and
  • growing up in a household where there are adults with alcohol and drug use problems, with mental health problems, domestic violence, with adults who have spent time in prison, parents have separated.

There is also 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 an area that is deprived or where there is neighbourhood violence.

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