Over 100 individuals involved in community planning came together in Alloa today to better understand how trauma impacts on people.
This community planning conference attracted Edwina Grant (Chair of Attachment in Action) and James Docherty who is an expert witness of adversity, trauma and recovery as key speakers.
The event aimed to build upon the existing trauma-aware network in Clackmannanshire and seeks to plan whole system prevention improvements for people who have experienced trauma or childhood adversities. Evidence suggests that trauma and childhood adversities leads to high levels of stress and even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and this is linked to poor educational outcomes, poor health outcomes, progression to offending, prison experience and premature death.
There is local evidence that some children in Clackmannanshire suffer significant and multiple adversities such as domestic abuse, parental alcoholism and other substance misuse, neglect and parental imprisonment. These adversities often create lifelong suffering and a need for costly specialist interventions. The aim of this event was to bring partners together to start to plan and co-ordinate preventative approaches minimising the need for costly specialist services, but also responding to the needs of people experiencing trauma in the most appropriate way.
Research shows that positive relationships create resilience to situations which might otherwise lead to long term periods of stress and negative outcomes throughout adulthood. In short, the protective relationships children develop with peers and adults are extremely important in preventing adversity and developing resilience. The role of the third sector in achieving and sustaining these relationships is absolutely critical.
The event was opened by Clackmannanshire Alliance chair Councillor Les Sharp who said: “Most children in Clackmannanshire will grow up to be responsible citizens and have a childhood which is safe and healthy. They are included and encouraged to achieve; they are able to lead an active life; their rights are respected and they are given responsibility.
“However, some children in Clackmannanshire live in environments where families do not flourish. Some children experience abuse, domestic violence, bereavement, substance misuse, neglect or parental imprisonment. Some children have caring responsibilities and have little time, energy or resources to play. We know that these children are much more likely to experience poorer outcomes than those who do not.
“Specialist resources are always stretched and the best outcomes will be achieved when teachers do not have to respond to children in distress, where mental health services do not need to provide treatment for trauma and where social services do not need to invoke child protection procedures.
“This starts by continuing to build healthy and inclusive relationships around all of our young people. It is these relationships which will not only prevent some of the adversities but it is also these relationships which underpin resilience so that survivors can not only cope - but will help them thrive.”
Today’s event brought partners together to better understand how trauma impacts people and families and to respond to distressed behaviour in a way that is empathic, supportive and effective. It provided an opportunity for senior leads from community planning partners and stakeholders to develop their knowledge and to develop what is known as trauma-informed approaches in delivering services.
This event attracted a diverse audience including: