TODAY, Friday (May 24) marks the launch of the Wales Police and Partners programme Early Action Together (EAT) Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) learning network, which has been produced in partnership between Early Action Together (EAT) and the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH). The ACEs learning network seeks to provide police and wider partners with information and resources relating to ACEs and trauma in the context of policing and criminal justice.

EAT is driving the commitment between Public Health Wales and Policing and Criminal Justice in Wales to collaborate under a public health approach. The programme is transforming policing by enabling early intervention and prevention, keeping vulnerable people out of the criminal justice system, breaking the generational cycle of crime and improving lives.

The ACEs learning network, which was developed in consultation with a UK-wide advisory group, will share evidenced based and best practice findings from the programme in a dynamic way, demonstrating the impact of changes the police forces in Wales are making. These changes include the implementation of new early help systems, working differently with multi-agency partners, how they gather information, and how they structure their organisations and develop their people to better meet the needs of their communities. It will also include blogs, news and research publications from public health, the police and other partners from across the UK and beyond.

Wales is a pace setter for this work so it can be scaled across the police and criminal justice sector in England. The Early Action Together programme has made a commitment to share its learnings as the programme continues, and the ACEs learning network will provide this opportunity.

Janine Roderick, Programme Director for Public Health and Policing in Wales, Public Health Wales, says:

“Taking a public health approach sits at the heart of the work we are doing. Understanding ACEs and resilience as the risk and protective factors for much of what police deal with is an important step in breaking cycles of crime and adversity. There has been a fantastic response from many organisations to be involved in this work, so we are delighted to be working in partnership with RSPH in ensuring the learning is shared. The Early Action Together ACEs learning network will provide up-to-date resources and online collaborative services for police, criminal justice and their partners to develop their knowledge and inform taking a public health approach through an ACE lens.”

Shirley Cramer, CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for Public Health said:

“Research suggests that around half of adults have experienced at least one Adverse Child Experience (ACE) and there is a strong relationship between exposure to ACEs and poorer health outcomes. It’s therefore critical that we provide support to professionals to better understand the impact of ACEs. We are delighted through our partnership with Early Action Together to launch an online resource and Learning Network for those working in the wider public health workforce.

The Early Action Together ACEs learning network will play an important and influential role in supporting professionals across the board to take the collaborative approach necessary to tackle and mitigate the range of adverse, traumatic and preventable experiences which can and unfortunately do affect too many of our children and young people.”

ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) are traumatic experiences that occur before the age of 18. They range from child verbal, mental, physical and sexual abuse, to being exposed to alcoholism, drug use and domestic violence at home.

Children who experience ACEs are more likely to adopt health-harming and anti-social behaviours as adults, are at much greater risk of poor health throughout life, and may have greater needs for support from healthcare and other public services such as policing and criminal justice.

The Early Action Together programme is a partnership between Public Health Wales, the four Wales Police Forces and Police and Crime Commissioners, Barnardo’s and key criminal justice organisations.

For more information visit http://www.aces.me.uk/ follow us on Twitter @ACEsPoliceWales / @ACEsHeddluCymru or contact Early Action Together communications team: earlyactiontogther@wales.nhs.uk / 07899 060432 / 07899 060072.

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