Kindness in court: who cares?

dogbod2019, blog

Scotland has an enviable reputation for being a country with a compassionate heart. As a nation, we have been at the forefront of a recent upsurge in understanding of the biological science of the impact of childhood trauma on the developing brain, gaining an awareness of adverse childhood experiences (“ACEs”). Much of the campaigning has been at grassroots level… Read More »

Childhood sexual abuse: At the heart of problems with ACEs policy, Part 2

dogbod2019, blog

In part 1 of this blog (5/7/19) I outlined reasons why reducing childhood sexual abuse (CSA) in society, and addressing its damaging effects in adulthood, need to form and remain a key component of ACES policy. The considerable risks to mental health, and now increasingly to physical health also, have been widely researched and evidenced for decades: more so than any other… Read More »

Adverse Childhood Experiences: a social justice perspective

dogbod2019, blog

by Gary Walsh (This blog was first posted on 15th May 2019) In this blog I am going to look at ACEs from a social justice perspective. So, what does social justice mean to me? “Research in the field of childhood studies defines social justice in terms of children and young people’s entitlement (e.g. to the law, services and democratic processes), redistribution (e.g. of rights, duties and resources), recognition (e.g. of culture, difference, capacity) and respect (e.g. of strengths, attributes, abilities).” (Davis et al., 2014) Nancy Fraser understands justice as “…social arrangements that permit all to participate as peers in social life.” (Fraser in Lovell 2007, p.20) In short, social justice is about making sure everyone in society is taken care of and included. This means paying close attention to sites of injustice such as power, poverty, gender, race, sexual orientation, disabilities. Using this understanding, a social justice critique of ACEs involves asking whether the ACEs agenda contributes to socio-economic redistribution, recognition, respect and participation. In this blog I explore some thoughts on this, before concluding that the ACEs agenda contributes little to social justice and could potentially be an unhelpful distraction. I finish by suggesting some alternative ways forward. … Read More

Making Scotland an ACE informed nation: continuing the conversation – an event summary

dogbod2018, blog

by Dr Emma Davidson We began a conversation on ACEs and resilience in December 2017 at the seminar, ‘The Troubling Concept of Resilience’, where Dr Eric Carlin and myself voiced our concerns that the dominant narrative on resilience could obscure inequalities; penalising individuals by making them responsible for their own wellbeing. Since then, we have witnessed the mounting influence of ACE and resilience-focused policy in Scotland. It is now even more important to provide a space in which popular rhetoric on ACEs and resilience can be constructively and respectfully critiqued. Our event on 6th November 2018 aimed to reignite that process. We welcomed three speakers: Dr Amy Chandler, Dr Cara Blaisdell and Laura Wright, each of whom talked from their perspective of their own field of research. Amy’s presentation (which you can watch here) examined the potentially counter-productive ways ACEs are used in research on suicide and self-harm. Early experiences, Amy noted, are undeniably important in shaping later risks of, or experiences with, suicide and self-harm. However, there is a tendency to rely on a mechanical or ‘addictive’ analysis, with a correlation drawn between early adversity and later problems. The work of explaining what these correlations actually mean, or understanding the mechanisms … Read More

Ace Awareness, damage narratives and social justice in early years practice: personal and professional reflections

dogbod2018, blog

As an experienced practitioner, researcher and lecturer specializing in early childhood education, I have had a mixed reaction to the recent push for being ACE Aware. Discussions about love, kindness and empathy are very welcome and needed. At Strathclyde, our students discuss how their settings are moving away from punitive practices, toward… Read More »