The term 'adverse childhood experiences' 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.
What must be remembered is that ACEs can be prevented. The work that we are doing across Blackburn with Darwen aims to both prevent ACEs occurring in the first place wherever possible, and to prevent the consequences of ACEs in those that have already experienced them. If you have been affected by any of the issues raised, please contact your GP.