POLICE and educators in Devon and Cornwall have been awarded a grant to develop new ways of supporting children who have been through traumatic events, known as “Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE)”.
The pioneering scheme has been awarded nearly £260,000 through the EU’s Erasmus+ project to encourage collaboration between UK and European partners to better understand and provide improved resolutions for children affected by trauma at an early age.
Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) is used to describe experiences that directly hurt a child or affect them through the environment in which they live and can include domestic abuse, bereavement, parental separation, incarceration of a member of the family or being exposed to drug and alcohol misuse or neglect.
The exact number of children this is thought to affect is unknown however around half of all adults in England have experienced one ACE and 9 per cent have experienced four or more ACE’s which is a known to be a tipping point for an increase in poorer outcomes in future relationships, health harming behaviours and experiencing poorer physical and mental health.
The project led by Westcountry Schools Trust (WeST) will enable teachers, social workers, health workers and police officers to link up with their colleagues in Sweden, Italy and Spain to share best practice, insights and skills, and ensure that future generations affected by ACE and associated trauma can receive the best possible help and support.
Zoe Nixon, Erasmus+ Co-ordinator from WeST explained: “We want to equip our professions with better skills, knowledge and understanding of the needs of children impacted by trauma. If we all understand the way other agencies work we will ensure much better outcomes for children.”
Inspector Miles Topham from Devon and Cornwall Police said: “We’ll be working with our colleagues both in the UK and in other countries to look at the differences and similarities in how they deal with children who’ve suffered similar experiences and identifying approaches that may work best.”
Devon County Council’s Virtual School head teacher, Ian Hemelik, said: “Working closely together we can ensure we do the best job possible for young people who have been through very tough times. This project will help our teachers, social workers, police and healthcare workers to learn from each other and share their best practice.”