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The Violence Reduction Unit is encouraging organisations across the West Midlands to become trauma-informed and more aware of the long term impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) on their workforce, the people they work with or support, and the public. We have commissioned Barnado’s to provide a service that supports organisations to embed a trauma informed approach into their practice. For details of our training offers, webinars and resources see below.

What are ACEs?

Adverse Childhood Experiences are traumatic or stressful events that occur in childhood. This can be a repeating pattern of events or a single, powerfully traumatic incident. ACEs might also be referred to as ‘early’ or ‘developmental’ trauma. There is a growing body of research that is exploring the connection between early childhood experiences and health and wellbeing outcomes throughout a persons life.

There are a number of criticisms of the ACEs movement, centring on the use of screening and scoring ACEs and on the fact the approach focuses on the problems of a person who has experienced trauma without also considering their strengths. Barnardo’s would agree with these criticisms and encourage organisations to adopt an individualised,  relationship-based and trauma-informed approach to working with children and families rather than a focus on scoring ACEs as a means of directing intervention.

Our Work

In the first phase, the ACEs co-ordinators supported the local authorities of Sandwell and Dudley in the creation and/or delivery of strategic action plans to embed trauma-informed approaches across partner organisations and in day-to-day practice.  At the risk of simplifying a complex service, the project encourages early and timely intervention, provides training to enhance the skills, knowledge and confidence of practitioners working with children and families and consults with strategic leads to raise the profile of ACES and trauma-informed approaches in order that a commitment to change is made at all levels.

The ACEs project is now working with Dudley and Sandwell to ensure that the change can be sustained after our initial involvement; this means that we can extend our work to start to support the other local authorities across the Violence Reduction Units area.  The ACES coordinators will work closely with the community navigators to integrate trauma informed practice across the VRUs place-based activity. 

Training Offers

The Violence Reduction Unit offers a series of training modules on trauma. We currently offer both live webinars (arranged upon request) and access to recorded webinars in the following modules:

  1. An introduction to ACEs and trauma-informed practice (available now)
  2. Trauma-Informed Practice (coming August 2020)
  3. Trauma-informed Organisations for senior and middle leaders (coming September 2020)

These training programmes can be offered as a train the trainer initiative. We also have a number of other resources available to help organisations embed the learning from their training with us.   Please contact us via for more information.

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