“ACEs” stands for “Adverse Childhood Experiences” and refers to childhood experiences that include things like:
parental abandonment through separation or divorce
a parent with a mental health condition
being the victim of abuse (physical, sexual and/or emotional)
being the victim of neglect (physical and emotional)
a member of the household being in prison
growing up in a household in which there are adults experiencing alcohol and drug use problems.
The more ACEs a child experiences, the more likely they are to suffer from things like heart disease and diabetes, poor academic achievement and substance abuse later in life. When children are exposed to adverse and stressful experiences, it can have a long-lasting impact on their ability to think, interact with others and on their learning.
While ACEs are found across the population, there is more risk of experiencing ACEs in areas of higher deprivation. There is much that can be offered to build resilience in children, young people and adults who have experienced adversity in early life.