Wick councillor speaks on adverse childhood experiences
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A Wick and east Caithness councillor co-hosted a virtual seminar held by Highland Council on Friday to raise awareness of the impact of adverse childhood experiences on children and families.
Councillor Nicola Sinclair from Wick delivered the seminar along with Sutherland councillor Linda Munro as part of their work within the health, wellbeing and social care committee.
The seminar, entitled Breaking the Cycle: Understanding and Responding to Adverse Childhood Experiences, had a number of guest speakers and specialists from Highland Council, Scottish Government and partner organisations – aimed to raise awareness of the impact of adverse childhood experiences on children and families, in the early years but also on teenagers and into adulthood.
Councillor Sinclair said: “Highland Council is an ACE-Aware Council and this event aims to build on existing knowledge to determine a plan for the way ahead to ensure staff, organisations and wider communities are both trauma informed and embed these approaches across our services. "Additionally, an element which sits at the core of our response is to remove the stigma for children and families affected by drugs and alcohol, mental health issues and/or involved in the criminal justice system by understanding their childhood experiences and adapting the way we deliver our services.”
Councillor Munro added: “Trauma can have a significant impact on outcomes for children and adults if we are unable to offset this through delivery of services and within our communities. One of the key ways in which we can address the impact of these experiences is by ensuring that children have access to loving and supportive adults.”
She continued: “Our aim is to develop whole family approaches to service delivery, including strengths-based work with families so that we can start to mitigate the impact of trauma and break the cycle of adverse childhood experiences. We will also work to develop our services in consultation with children and families to ensure they are fit for purpose and help children have the best possible start in life.”
Speakers participating in the seminar included James Docherty from the Violence Reduction Unit, Sara Dodds (Adviser on Adverse Childhood Experiences) from the Scottish Government, and Sharon Glen, National Trauma Training Programme Policy Lead.
By having support from elected members for trauma-informed services, it is hoped that Highland is likely to effect change going forward. The Child Protection Committee welcomes this commitment.