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Thurs 20 June - Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and Trauma Informed Practice (TIP)

The 20 June 2019 Safeguarding Boards Practitioner Forum took the form of a professional development session on the subject of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and Trauma Informed Practice (TIP) presented by Dr Carlie Goldsmith, of St Mary’s University.

This professional development session provided an opportunity for practitioners to improve and expand their knowledge and understanding of two key fields of work – Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Trauma-informed Practice (TIP).

Contemporary thinking and practice suggests that children that experience adverse trauma in their early years may well demonstrate poor behaviours in adolescence and adult life. Adverse childhood experiences include suffering child maltreatment or living in a household affected by criminality, domestic violence, substance misuse or sexual abuse/ exploitation. The child may subsequently develop poor physical health, poor mental health or behaviours such as, violence, abuse, substance misuse and may be exploited by criminals and gangs.

There is a need to support front line practitioners, such a police response officers, social workers (child, 16+ and adult), family support workers, school staff, educational officers and health care professionals, by developing their knowledge of ACEs and the subsequent trauma that follows.

The more professionals that are aware of ACEs and become informed on the impact of trauma the more they can show empathy and identify and refer children and adolescents to support services when the trauma is identified.

At the end of the session, participants were able to:

- Explain why it is important for professionals to understand research on ACEs;

- Describe how ACEs and trauma-informed practice are related;

- Describe the key principles of trauma-informed practice;

- Evaluate how trauma-informed their practice or organisation is currently; and

- Identify actions that will build or strengthen trauma-informed ways of working in their organisation or practice.

The session was attended by 129 professionals from a range or organisations, and feedback since the event has been universally excellent.