I was happy to second this motion on adverse childhood experiences proposed by Emma Best AM the Assembly Plenary meeting on 1st July 2021. The motion and my speech are set out below:
“The freedom to just be a child without a care in the world, I’m sure we all agree, is a special thing because we remember what it was like to be children ourselves.
That freedom from harm at a young age allows us to learn and grow and experience life without limits; limits that we must all eventually face later on when we are more developed and ready to cope with life’s hardships.
The childhood years, from being a toddler to a teenager, are the building block years that help set the stage for adult relationships, behaviours, health, and social outcomes.
Safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments are essential to children’s health and wellbeing.
However, there are children who, due to circumstances beyond their control, are not given access to a safe and happy childhood.
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are sadly too common and have a huge impact on health and social outcomes.
They can include childhood abuse, neglect, and parental substance use. As such, they present a clear public health challenge with implications for a child’s entire life.
This motion to recognise ACE’s, brought forward by Emma Best, presents a critical opportunity for prevention.
Recognising and tackling ACEs will prevent a host of negative physical, behavioural, and mental health outcomes that follow.
All children, irrespective of their background, deserve the right to a safe childhood and a real chance at a healthy, happy future.
I’m proud to formally second this motion because I believe it is a step towards helping all children reach their full potential and creating a London in which every child has a chance to thrive.”
“This Assembly believes that all children, irrespective of their background, deserve the right to a happy and safe childhood and that it is incumbent upon the mayor to ensure that the existing policies of his administration are designed to facilitate such an aim.
Therefore, this Assembly notes, with concern, the growing evidence based around Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), recognises the correlation between such experiences and issues such as adult incarceration, unemployment, substance addiction or/and homelessness and suggests that a strong and dedicated focus, by the Mayor and his administration, upon addressing the former would go a significant way to preventing the latter. In support of said focus, this Assembly calls on the Mayor to:
Explore options to pilot a Pioneer Community approach and an Adverse Childhood Experiences HUB within London.
To personally meet with a representative of the WAVE Trust who are campaigning for a 70% reduction to the existing levels of children who undergo Multiple Adverse Childhood experiences by 2030.”
Proposed by Emma Best AM / Seconded by Caroline Russell AM