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Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can have a tremendous impact on future violent victimization and perpetration, and lifelong health and opportunity.  

ACEs are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years).  For example:

  • experiencing violence, abuse, or neglect

  • witnessing violence in the home or community

  • having a family member attempt or die by suicide

Also included are aspects of the child's environment that can undermine their sense of safety, stability, and bonding, such as growing up in a household with:

  • substance use problems

  • mental health problems

  • instability due to parental separation or household members being in jail or prison

Please note the examples above are not a complete list of adverse experiences. Many other traumatic experiences could impact health and wellbeing. 

ACEs are linked to chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance use problems in adolescence and adulthood.  ACEs can also negatively impact education, job opportunities, and earning potential.  Take the quiz below to receive your score.  For each "yes" answer, add 1.  The total number at the end is your cumulative number of ACEs. 

Before your 18th birthday: 

  1. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often swear at you, insult you, put you down, or humiliate you OR act in a way that made you afraid that you might be physically hurt? 

  2. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often push, grab, slap, or throw something at you OR ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured?

  3. Did an adult or person at least five years older than you ever touch or fondle you or have you touch their body in a sexual way OR attempt to actually have oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you?

  4. Did you often or very often feel that no one in your family loved you or thought you were important or special OR your family didn't look out for each other, feel close to each other, or support each other?

  5. Did you often or very often feel that you didn't have enough to eat, had to wear dirty clothes, and had no one to protect you OR your parents were too drunk or high to take care of you or take you to the doctor if you needed it? 

  6. Was a biological parent ever lost to you through divorce, abandonment, or other reason?

  7. Was your mother or stepmother: often or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at her; sometimes, often, or very often kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, or hit with something hard; ever repeatedly hit over at least a few minutes or threatened with a gun or knife?

  8. Did you live with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic, or who used street drugs?

  9. Was a household member depressed or mentally ill, or did a household member attempt suicide?

  10. Did a household member go to prison?