Trauma Informed

Understanding vulnerability and being trauma informed ​is a key area of business that Devon & Cornwall police are exploring as part of the evidence based policing being led through the Prevention Department.

We know early intervention is already taking place within policing and with partners. The work which will be undertaken by the Prevention Department will be based on theories such as the Adverse Child Experience, enabling us to identify and safeguard the most vulnerable within our communities and divert them from the Criminal Justice System or from becoming victims. This work will focus on strong and critical partnership working across both public and private sectors.

Latest News

26/08/2022 Special Report: Trauma-Informed Services
Source: Children and Young People Now
24/06/2022 Young people laud youth work role in tackling trauma
Source: Children and Young People Now
13/06/2022 Call for specialist teams to prevent early childhood trauma
Source: Children and Young People Now
04/05/2022 Police force launches trauma-informed care for children in custody
Source: Children and Young People Now
28/03/2022 Transitional Safeguarding – a more fluid approach which recognises that transition to adulthood goes beyond an 18th birthday.
Source: Russell Webster
23/03/2022 Higher early help spend and less poverty strongly linked to positive Ofsted ratings, research finds
Source: Community Care

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What are Adverse Child Experiences?

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being. Studies from the 90’s identified that there are ten Adverse Childhood Experiences which could lead to negative impact on individuals which are:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical neglect
  • Emotional neglect
  • Mother treated violently
  • Household substance abuse
  • Household mental illness
  • Parental separation or divorce
  • Incarcerated household member

Adverse Childhood Experiences have been linked to:

  • risky health behaviors,
  • chronic health conditions,
  • low life potential, and
  • early death.

As the number of ACEs increases, so does the risk for these outcomes.

Useful documents

Childhood trauma, the brain and the social world: A short guide about the importance of social relationships for mental health

“In this guide, we share some of the latest research looking at how brain changes following trauma . . . can affect a child’s social world. We consider how adults and systems can help build a better social world.”

Toward a system that heals: Exploring empathy and its application to youth justice and children’s education, health and social care services.

Through the report I will comment on love, kindness and compassion in systems, and I realise as I . . . come to conclude the writing of this report, that actually empathy is an intentional ‘doing’ word, and that in fact empathy is the driver to love, kindness and compassionate action that leads to ‘empathic interactions’, and increases connection between service providers and those who use the services.

Causes and Impact of Offending and Criminal Justice Pathways: Follow-up of the Edinburgh Study Cohort at Age 35

The Edinburgh Study is a major programme of research that spans more than two decades and involves . . . over 4,000 individual cohort members who were attending schools in Scotland’s capital city at the turn of the 21st Century. The Study has always relied on the cooperation, goodwill and enthusiasm of its participants who have given their time generously to support the overall aims of the research in improving the lives of children, young people and adults involved in offending or in contact with systems of justice.

Punishing Abuse Children in the West Midlands Criminal Justice System

We know that the local authorities, schools, police, other vital public services and organisations . . . within our essential voluntary and community sectors, are working tirelessly to improve the lives of children across the West Midlands. A crucial part of this is their work to help some of our most vulnerable children cope with the fallout from poverty, and, sadly experiences of trauma.

The role of public services in addressing child vulnerability

“Our second major inquiry, ‘The role of public services in addressing child vulnerability’ will ask . . . whether reforming public services can address the growing problem of child vulnerability. The inquiry will cover how public services support mothers and families during pregnancy, and how they support children in their early years and school years”. (UK Parliament)

Adverse Childhood Experience Trauma Informed Multi-agency Early Action Together (ACE TIME) training: A 15-month police and partners

Funded by the Home Office to deliver a national programme of change across Wales (2018-2020), the . . . E.A.T programme is a unique collaboration between Public Health Wales (PHW), the four Welsh Police Forces and Police and Crime Commissioners, in partnership with Criminal Justice, Youth Justice, and third sector organisations.

Realising the potential of early intervention

Too many children are facing challenges or disadvantages that can affect their development and . . . threaten their future life chances, health and happiness.

Health matters: community-centred approaches for health and wellbeing

This professional resource focuses on the concept and practice of community-centred approaches for . . . health and wellbeing and outlines how to create the conditions for community assets to thrive.

Useful links

ACES too High

ACESTooHigh is a news site that reports on research about positive and adverse childhood experiences, including developments in epidemiology, neurobiology, and the biomedical and epigenetic consequences of toxic stress. We also cover how people, organizations, agencies and communities are implementing practices and policies based on the research. This includes developments in education, juvenile justice, criminal justice, public health, medicine, mental health, social services, and cities, counties and states.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: ACEs

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can have a tremendous impact on future violence victimization and perpetration, and lifelong health and opportunity. CDC works to understand ACEs and prevent them.


Cymru Well Wales: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Adults in Wales who were physically or sexually abused as children or brought up in households where there was domestic violence, alcohol or drug abuse are more likely to adopt health-harming and anti-social behaviours in adult life. Results from the first Welsh Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) studylink to external website – opens in new window show that suffering four or more harmful experiences in childhood increases the chances of high-risk drinking in adulthood by four times, being a smoker by six times and being involved in violence in the last year by around 14 times.

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Early Action Together

The Early Action Together ACEs learning network provides helpful information for the public, professionals and Police about the Early Action Together programme and its work in relation to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

Website | YouTube

How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime (Video)

Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.

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The Innovate Project

Exploring how services are addressing extra-familial risks experienced by young people outside of the family home. Building new knowledge about the processes of innovation in social care.

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What ACEs/PCEs do you have?

There are 10 types of childhood trauma measured in the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences Study. (There are many others…see below.) Five are personal — physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, and emotional neglect.

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