ACE Conference – Changing Lives: Tackling Adversity in Childhood in Northern Ireland

At a recent Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Conference in Templepatrick, professionals and practitioners from across Northern Ireland were brought together with leading experts to learn more about the potential negative impact of ACEs on children, young people and adults.

Throughout the conference the importance of intervening early to respond to childhood adversities was emphasised. Intervention and support can occur at every age and stage of life.  Participants at the conference heard about the importance of using a trauma informed approach to understand and respond to childhood adversities. Attendees have been encouraged to ensure that giving children the best start in life is at the forefront of all of our work.

Keynote speakers included George Hoskings (WAVE Trust), Professor Mark Bellis (Public Health Wales) Sara Dodds (Scottish Government), Noreen McBride and Colum Benstead (South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust) and Katrina Godfrey (The Executive Office).

Find out more about ACEs – Click here to download the press release from the ACE Conference 


Click here to watch the ACE Conference (13 Nov 2017)


ACE Conference Keynote Speaker Presentations:

1. Setting the Context for ACE Development in NI – Maurice Meehan, PHA and Kieran Downey WHSCT 

2. Perspectives from Wales – Professor Mark Bellis, Public Health Wales

3. What to do about ACEs after the event – George Hoskings, WAVE Trust

4. An ACEs Perspective from Scotland – Sara Dodds, Scottish Government

5. The South Eastern ACE Pilot Project – Noreen McBride and Colum Benstead, South Eastern HSC Trust 

6. Contributions of the Programme for Government to Building Collaboration and Delivering Good Outcomes


ACE Conference Workshop Presentations:

Workshop 1 – South Eastern ACE Pilot Part 1 – Lisa Bunting, Queens University Belfast

Workshop 1 – South Eastern ACE Pilot Part 2 – Mairead Davey, South Eastern HSC Trust

Workshop 2 – Early Intervention Transformation Programme – Astrid Hamilton, Department of Health

Workshop 3 – Contributions of the Infant Mental Health Strategy to Recognising and Responding to ACEs, Public Health Agency and National Children’s Bureau

Workshop 4 – Designing a Service Response – CAWT MACE Project, Carmel McPeake, CAWT and Kieran Downey, Western HSC Trust

Workshop 5 – Lessons Learnt in Education – Walla Walla, Pete McNally, WAVE Trust

Workshop 6 – Contributions of local research to our understanding of ACEs Part 1 – John Devaney, Queens University Belfast

Workshop 6 – Contributions of local research to our Understanding of ACEs Part 2 – Margaret McLafferty, Ulster University


Read our summary report card from the ACE Conference by clicking here

The full conference report can be downloaded by clicking here


Contact Us:

For further information about the ACE Conference contact Stephanie Thompson, CYPSP at