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Sir Michael Marmot's
IHE team

The Impact of Adverse Experiences in the Home on the Health of Children and Young People, and Inequalities in Prevalence and Effects

By Matilda Allen and Angela Donkin

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Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are situations which lead to an elevated risk of children and young people experiencing damaging impacts on health, or other social outcomes, across the life course.

This report addresses the issue for those under the age of 18 who: are abused or neglected; live in households where domestic violence, drug and alcohol misuse, mental ill health, criminality, or separation are present; or who live in care. In many cases multiple ACEs are experienced simultaneously.

Approximately half of the English population have experienced one or more ACEs, although this varies according to the type of ACE. For example, in one study, 12% reported witnessing domestic violence before the age of 18, but only 3.9% parental drug misuse (1)

It is also probable that some ACEs are more likely to have negative impacts than others, although due to the fact that they are often experienced (and measured) simultaneously, this is hard to ascertain.

This report was written for the Department of Health by Matilda Allen and Angela Donkin of the UCL Institute of Health Equity.

(1) Bellis MA, Hughes K, Leckenby N, Perkins C, Lowey H. National household survey of adverse childhood experiences and their relationship with resilience to health-harming behaviors in England. BMC medicine. 2014;12:72

This report is a part of a suite by DH.