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Home > Fostering understanding, empowering change: practice responses to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and intergenerational patterns of domestic violence.

Morton, Sarah and Curran, Megan (2019) Fostering understanding, empowering change: practice responses to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and intergenerational patterns of domestic violence. Tipperary: Cuan Saor Women’s Refuge.

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URL: https://researchrepository.ucd.ie/handle/10197/112...

Cuan Saor provides a range of services for women and children who experience domestic violence, this is the mission statement that we work from daily. Cuan Saor has developed its services over the past 25 years, growing from providing support and information to introducing a freephone helpline, opening a refuge in 2000, developing an outreach support and information service, court support, group work and an extensive childcare service. With the growth of the service Cuan Saor has continuously examined responses and interventions to ensure the organisation is meeting the needs of women and children. Key has been the changing landscape, such as understandings around how social media, substance use, and mental health impact and intersect with the dynamics of power and control in abusive relationships.

The long-term impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES), including domestic violence, poverty and substance use, have been widely evidenced in recent decades (Bellis et al., 2013). Further to this, attention has been paid to effective screening for ACES within a range of health settings. In recent years, both researchers and practitioners have considered and explored interventions for those who have experienced adverse childhood experiences, with a view to lessening the impact of these experiences, and improving health and other personal outcomes (Ashton et al., 2016; Hughes et al., 2016). Within the Irish context, there have been a number of cross-sectional studies considering ACEs within specific populations, and some attention to post-screening intervention. There has also been initial consideration of how ACEs screening can inform practice responses in relation to trauma within homeless and substance use settings. However, there has been little focus on the role of ACEs for women experiencing domestic violence, despite growing recognition of inter-generational patterns of domestic violence, childhood sexual abuse and substance use (Morton, 2016). This study sought to pilot ACEs routine enquiry within a domestic violence agency, with a view to developing practitioner and organisational responses.


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