As you may be aware, there is considerable work going on across Reading, within schools and children’s and family services, to raise awareness of the damaging effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and thus ensure that Reading becomes one of the first trauma-informed towns in the UK.
Taking ACEs into account
ACEs can include physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, physical or emotional neglect, exposure to domestic violence, household substance misuse, mental illness, separation or divorce, or a family member being in prison. Research shows that a person’s cumulative ACE score has a strong, graded relationship to numerous health, social, and behavioural problems throughout their lifespan, including substance use disorders.
Being trauma informed means that when we are working with someone who presents with ACEs, we respond in a way whereby we are taking their past traumas into account; we are treating the whole person in front of us, being mindful of their traumatic experiences and their resulting coping mechanisms, and attempting to understand their behaviours.
A shared understanding of the words trauma and resilience
One Reading has produced a consultation document with the aim of generating a shared understanding of the words ‘trauma’ and ‘resilience’. There is also a maturity model – for establishing where on the journey to trauma informed your team/organisation considers itself to be – together with a self-assessment document. You are invited to complete the self-assessment using the maturity model as a guide, and complete the consultation around the words ‘trauma’ and ‘resilience’. There is also the opportunity to have Reading’s Trauma-Informed Practitioner come and run a focus group with your team/organisation to enable you to expand on any thoughts you may have.