Creating 100 trauma-aware communities in the UK

The Resilience Challenge offers churches in 100 different communities in the UK, the possibility to show the film ‘Resilience’ free of charge* to parents, health and social workers, educators, police and local government representatives in their community and initiate discussions with those present on the effect of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and what, as a community, can be done to prevent and reduce them.

Registrations for the first round have now closed. Churches in 36 communities all across the UK are now starting to plan their events. Many are Churches Together working in quite large towns and/or boroughs. It's great to think of them wanting to help raise awareness of Adverse Childhood Experiences in the community. The event schedule will eventually appear here.

If you wish to register interest for the next round, you are very welcome to do this and we would find this helpful as well as encouraging.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are stressful events occurring in childhood including:
  • 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 us in society. You can help reduce ACEs by encouraging wider awareness and understanding about ACEs and their impact on health and behaviour, supporting parents and families and building resilience in children and wider communities.

Therefore becoming a trauma-aware community.
The effect of ACEs

People affected by several ACEs have much higher risk of poor health, educational failure, imprisonment, addiction, etc.

For example, in an English National ACE study1 nearly half (47%) of individuals experienced at least one ACE with 9% of the population having 4+ ACEs. The case for help is overwhelming when reviewing the statistics:
  • People exposed to 4+ ACEs die 20 years earlier than those with no ACEs
  • Four or more ACEs significantly increase the odds of a person:
    • Developing cancer (by nearly two times)
    • Being a current smoker (just over two times)
    • Having sexually transmitted infections (by two and a half times)
    • Using illicit drugs (by nearly five times increased risk)
    • Being addicted to alcohol (over seven times increased risk)
    • Attempting suicide (over 12 times increased risk)
This does not mean that these conditions will only appear in people with a high number of ACEs but the risk of them appearing is much higher.

Prevention and reduction

Prevention starts with awareness, especially by parents, schools, doctors, social workers, police, local government, etc. Organisations can develop ‘trauma-informed practices’ to mitigate the effects.

Preventing ACEs in future generations1 could reduce levels of:

  • Early sex by 22%
  • Unintended teen pregnancy by 38%
  • Smoking (current) by 16%
  • Binge drinking (current) by 15%
  • Cannabis use (lifetime) by 18%
  • Heroin/crack use (lifetime) by 59%
  • Violence victimisation (past year) by 51%
  • Incarceration (lifetime) by 53%
  • Poor diet (current) by 14%
  • Mood disorders by 22.9%
  • Anxiety disorders by 31%
  • Behavioural disorders by 41%
  • Psychosis by 33%
  • Mental health diagnoses by 29%

* The licence cost of the film is covered. It is assumed that all other costs are met by the church e.g. premises, staff, volunteer costs.


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Geoff Knott, 15/08/2019