Support for Families Affected by Drug and Alcohol Misuse

Adverse Childhood Experiences

What are ACEs?

We know that having bad things happen to us in childhood (before the age of 18) – can have harmful effects on our health and wellbeing as adults. These painful or difficult life events are often referred to as Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACE’s.

10 Most common ACEs

  • Physical abuse
  • Verbal abuse
  • Depression
  • Domestic abuse
  • Homelessness and poverty
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Drugs/Alcohol
  • Parental separation
  • Prison

Possible Effects

Adverse Childhood Experiences can cause harmful levels of stress and this sometimes has a negative effect on the physical and emotional development of children in the early years of life. Facing too much stress in childhood can also mean we don’t learn how to control our feelings very well or learn how to relax properly. Adversity in childhood can also negatively affect our relationships and our mental and physical health later in life.


Why are we asking about ACEs?

Asking the question gives you the chance and opportunity to share your experiences. Whatever you tell me is confidential. However, if you do tell me something that makes me think you or anyone else is at risk of serious harm I may need to share this information to keep you or others safe. However, if I do need to share any information, wherever possible, I will make you aware of what will be shared and with whom.

Knowing about someone’s Adverse Childhood Experiences can help us to support them in the best way possible.


What will happen next?

Throughout Hetty`s package of support, you will have time to build a trusting relationship with your family support worker. At some point you will be offered to complete the ACE’s questionnaire as part of our work.  The questions are quite probing but have been designed to explore if you have experienced any ACE’s.



For some people it can be very helpful to talk about these difficult experiences, you may want to discuss this at a later date when you have had time to think about it.

If you feel that you may need support or would like to talk to someone you can contact your allocated worker or GP to discuss things further.

There is also a short film on YouTube you may find useful.

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