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Adverse Childhood Experiences

Information, advice and support for children and families

What are ACEs?

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are stressful events or experiences that occur in childhood that can have an impact on physical and mental health throughout a person’s life. There is no definitive list of ACEs but examples of experiences that can be traumatic are listed below:

Direct harm: physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse and physical or emotional neglect

Indirect harm: domestic violence, parental drug/alcohol misuse, parental criminal behaviour/incarceration, parental mental illness and bereavement (linked to death or separation)

It is important to remember that some of these experiences may be more traumatic for some people than others. There are also other experiences which can be traumatic that are not included in this list.

How do ACEs affect a person?

Studies have found that the higher the number of ACEs in a population, there is a higher risk of experiencing a range of health conditions in adulthood.

This short animation from Public Health Wales explains the affect ACEs can have on a person.


Support for those affected by ACEs and trauma

This ACEs leaflet signposts to a number of organisations that are able to offer support to individuals who are affected by ACEs and trauma.