WHO and LJMU publish joint report on childhood trauma

LJMU has jointly published new guide to help agencies in health, education, social and criminal justice to recognise and act upon the impacts of childhood trauma.

Child abuse, exposure to domestic violence, neglect and other traumas, known collectively as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can leave people with health, social and economic problems throughout life.

A new report from Liverpool John Moores University and Public Health Wales, in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe offers professionals a broad understanding of the field allowing them to deal more effectively with the causes and offer better solutions to the symptoms.

Professor Zara Quigg, of LJMU’s Public Health Institute said: “These events can have generational impacts. Parents who have experienced ACEs as a child may be at increased risk of exposing their own children to the same, and thus it is critical that we have the best evidence to support partners and communities to break family cycles.  

“Experiencing ACEs does not alone determine your path through life and our report illustrates the importance of understanding what can protect people from harm, how to build resilience families and communities, and vitally to learn from people who have experienced trauma but still managed to avoid many of the health harming consequences others have suffered.”

For the first time, this new report, brings together evidence from across Europe and internationally, and highlights effective action to address their burden.

Solutions to ACEs span all sectors of government and public service, and work to address ACEs can provide a shared understanding and shared terminology to allow better joined up solutions to prevention, resilience and trauma-informed responses.

Mark Bellis, Professor of Public Health and Behavioural Science at Liverpool John Moores University said: “This report outlines how programmes, which support parenting and bring together skills from health, social and other sectors, can reduce the number of children who ever experience ACEs and improve the health and opportunities of those who tragically continue to suffer abuse, neglect and other forms of adversity.”

Jonathon Passmore, Regional Technical Officer for Violence & Injury Prevention at the WHO Regional Office for Europe said: “This report marks the beginning of a new phase of WHO engagement with member states and subnational counterparts for scaling up action on the prevention of and response to Adverse Childhood Experiences.  WHO stands ready to support European member states in the development of national policies and practices.”

Sara Wood, from the WHO Collaborating Centre, Public Health Wales, said: “ACEs can have harmful impacts across the life-course, affecting people’s education, health, social and economic opportunities and placing major burdens on society and the provision of public services. By bringing together what is known about ACEs and the evidence for effective action, this report supports the development of a trauma-informed society that is invested in action to prevent ACEs and better support those affected by them.”

The report is available here.


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