Understanding how Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs affect individuals’ health and behaviour across the life course has been one of the most transformative developments in public health over recent years. A history of ACEs can underpin poor educational attainment, health-harming behaviours and anti-social and criminal behaviour in adolescence, and in later life the development of premature ill health and death.

However, not everyone who suffers ACEs experiences the same harmful outcomes. Building resilience across the life course can help people avoid and overcome many of the problems arising from childhood adversity. Support from a family member or from elsewhere in the community can prove the critical difference between ACEs pushing an individual into a harmful life course or, with a little help, finding a way to stay on one offering better health and prosperity.

This work, supported jointly by Public Health Wales and Welsh Government, is a first step towards describing how people develop resilience to the impacts of ACEs and what community, family and professional assets might help them in that process.

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