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Housing sector has important role to play in addressing adverse childhood experiences

Blog by Zhan McIntyre, SFHA Policy Lead. 

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NHS Health Scotland would like to raise awareness amongst its partners and stakeholders of adverse childhood experiences, also referred to as ACEs, which are stressful events occurring in childhood. These could include:

  • domestic violence
  • 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.

ACEs have been found to have lifelong impacts on health and behaviour, and they are relevant to all sectors and involve all of society. 

NHS Health Scotland argues that everyone has a part to play in preventing adversity and raising awareness of ACEs. 

Resilient communities have an important role in action on ACEs.

As a sector, we need to look at how we deliver services so that we can help reduce ACEs, for example, by:

  • preventing household adversity
  • supporting parents and families
  • building resilience in children and wider communities
  • enquiring about ACEs routinely in your services to respond appropriately
  • encouraging wider awareness and understanding about ACEs and their impact on health and behaviour
  • using encounters with adults in services, such as homelessness services, addiction, prison or maternity services, to consider the impacts on their children or future children.

NHS Scotland has produced a short animation to contribute to raising awareness about the impact of childhood adversity.

Please get in touch with SFHA Policy Lead Zhan McIntyre if you would be interested in having a round table discussion on what housing associations can do to raise awareness of ACEs, and what practical achievable steps landlords could take to adapt their practice. 

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