Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Adverse childhood experiences

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are situations which lead to an elevated risk of children and young people experiencing damaging impacts on health, or other social outcomes, across the life course.

In many cases multiple ACEs (living in a households where domestic violence, abuses, neglect, drug and alcohol misuse, mental ill health, criminality or separation are present) are experienced simultaneously.

Approximately half of the English population have experienced one or more ACEs, although this varies according to the type of ACE. Those who experience four or more adversities are at a significantly increased risk of poor health outcomes across the life course compared to those with no ACEs. It is also probable that some ACEs are more likely to have negative impacts than others, although due to the fact that they are often experienced (and measured) simultaneously, this is hard to ascertain.


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