ACEs & Trauma Informed Practice

Supporting agencies to tackle childhood adversity across Northern Ireland

The Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland is working with its 27 member agencies and more to build a trauma informed workforce across Northern Ireland.

Background to Trauma Informed Practice and ACEs

In 2017, the Department for Health announced that £1.5 million would be invested through the cross departmental Early Intervention Transformation Programme (EITP) to build professional workforce capacity to understand how adversity can affect child development and to build on the skills of staff working with individuals who have been affected by childhood adversity through a trauma informed approach.

Bernie McNally, Chair of the SBNI highlighted the collaborative response to taking forward the ACE agenda by all SBNI agencies and associated partners, committing to support dedicated and specific training to improve outcomes, aid prevention and support recovery for children, young people and their families. 

On 2 April 2018, the SBNI formally launched the EITP Trauma Informed Practice Project, NI ACE Animation and training resources with over 180 representatives from across health, social care, justice, education, justice, housing, the community and voluntary sector and with government officials. A short summary film has been developed from the launch event to raise awareness of the aims of the project and how ACE awareness and Trauma Informed Practice have been implemented to date. 

  • SBNI EITP Trauma Informed Practice Project Overview

    SBNI EITP Trauma Informed Practice Project Overview.pdf

  • Throughout Northern Ireland we have committed leaders working collectively to develop a trauma informed nation.

  • Children who are routinely exposed to situations such as domestic violence, mental ill health, alcohol and other substance misuse problems in their homes experience a negative impact which can last well into adulthood. These chronic stress situations are called Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and are often associated with poorer outcomes for children in educational attainment, employment, involvement in crime, family breakdown, and a range of health and wellbeing measures.

  • Trauma Informed Practice is a way of increasing the understanding of trauma and its impact through supporting development of skills and knowledge throughout the workforce. It also recognises the correlation between trauma and poorer outcomes which may be caused by the direct impact of the trauma, the impact of the trauma on a person’s coping response or the impact of the trauma on a person’s relationships with others.

  • Easy access to all ACEs and Trauma Informed Practice resources. E.g. type in trauma lens, brain development card, SBNI stress leaflet etc.

  • Find training relevant to ACEs and Trauma Informed Practice. For example type in Solihull Understanding Trauma, Understanding Attachment or Understanding Brain Development in the search bar above. (top right)


    E-Learning Programmes

    To access the e-learning programmes click here if you are in a statutory organisation registered with HSC leadership

    or here if you are in the community/voluntary sector:



  • Contact details for staff with responsibility for various aspects of Trauma Informed Practice at SBNI.

EITP Trauma Informed Practice Project

The Early Intervention Transformation Programme (EITP) is a Delivering Social Change (DSC) / Atlantic Philanthropies Signature Programme which is funded jointly by five government Departments (DoH, DE, DoJ, DfC and DfE) DSC and Atlantic Philanthropies.  Implementation commenced in April 2014 and it will end in March 2020. EITP aims to transform ways of working through embedding early intervention knowledge and evidence based approaches to commissioning and delivering services for children, young people and families in order to achieve better outcomes.

  • Delivery

    The EITP Work Stream Four Project will deliver Trauma Informed Practice Training across a multi-agency workforce. The training has been informed by international research that has been published within the SBNI/QUB Evidence Review reports which are now available on the SBNI website. To download the reports please visit the resource page on the SBNI website.

  • Training

    The training will provide participants with a better understanding of the extent to which children and young people in Northern Ireland are impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the practice skills that can be applied to mitigate the impact of trauma as a result of childhood adversity. This will also strengthen the understanding of ACEs among professionals working with children and adults, including those involved in child protection, and in the wider community.

  • Business areas

    The EITP Work Stream Four has five business areas that it will concentrate on for training the multi-agency workforce:

    • Justice
    • Education
    • Health
    • Community & Voluntary
    • Social Care

The EITP Trauma Informed Practice Project has been extended from 1 April 2020 for a further year to continue the strategic implementation of ACE Awareness and Trauma Informed Practice across organisations through a consistent systemic approach in Northern Ireland. Further information will be made available shortly.

Aim of the EITP Trauma Informed Practice Workforce Development Project

  • The EITP Trauma Informed Practice Project is underpinned by the following aims:

    • Have an awareness of the adverse childhood experiences which cause trauma in a child’s life
    • Be aware of the impact of these adversities on the development of a child
    • Be able to identify what creates resilience to cope with adversity
    • Be able to develop policies and practice, to embed trauma informed practice in their work. 
  • Whilst delivering upon the ethos of the project we will create a system where:

    • The workforce recognises and responds to the impact of childhood adversity on children, caregivers and service providers
    • Trauma awareness, knowledge and skills are an integral part of organisational cultures, practices and policies
    • Effective practice is used to maximise the physical and psychological safety of the child, facilitate recovery of the child and family and support their ability to thrive

    Children and families impacted by and vulnerable to trauma are more resilient and better able to cope.

SBNI Strategic Priorities

Following the review of the SBNI Strategic Plan for 2018-2022, the SBNI has identified three priority areas of which will focus its collaborative efforts with the SBNI partner agencies over the next four years. The three priority areas are

  • Domestic violence
  • Mental health
  • Neglect

The SBNI's Strategic Plan for the next 4 years incorporates the delivery of the Trauma Informed Practice Project from April 2018 until 31 March 2020.

  • 2. SBNI Strategic Plan 2018-2022 Final 1.0 January 2018_0.docx


E-Learning Programmes

To access the e-learning programmes click here if you are in a statutory organisation registered with HSC leadership

or here if you are in the community/voluntary sector: