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ACE Study FAQ

Lawsuit: Archdiocese, Boy Scouts knew of abuse

After Guam passed the Child Victims Act, lawsuits have been filed against churches, the Boy Scouts, and individuals
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ACE Made Simple

Understanding the ACE study isn't that complicated, understanding how to protect your children from them is a little harder, but we have some tips
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TV weatherman shares story of childhood sex abuse to help others

A TV weatherman shares his story of recognizing and recovering from child sexual abuse
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Toddler, teen charged in slaying lived in trailer with 7 others

Details of opiate addiction, poverty, and CPS involvement are emerging in the murder of Ethan Bigham
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Slain toddler’s organs donated to little boy in Texas, Buffalo woman

Ethan Bingham, who was brutally beaten by his babysitter, was disconnected from life support today so that his organs could be donated
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Bail set at $100,000 for Buffalo mom who prompted Amber Alert

A mother who is about to lose custody of her daughter picked her up from a bus stop, triggering an Amber Alert
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Toddler brain dead, babysitter charged

Ethan Bingham will be taken off life support after he was brutally assaulted by his 17-year-old babysitter.
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Is your child a bully? Then it’s your fault

Evidence is growing that no one has more influence over keeping their child from bullying than parents
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Sex predator dads cause psychological scars on their kids, experts say

A sex offender in a family is like a cancer, and even those not directly abused are affected
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The Power of Positivity

As parents, we tend to focus on problems, not our relationships with children. What if we shift our focus from doing things “to” or “for” our kids, to doing things with them?
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I know where there’s a dangerous sex offender… and I can’t tell you

Have you signed the petition to protect children from sexual abuse?  Click here to sign now. By Melanie Blow   I know where a dangerous sex offender lives. He’s not registered under Megan’s Law. He can pass a background check. I believe he is still abusing kids....
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She still feels the pain of sexual abuse as a child

One woman's story of coming to terms with and recovering from child sexual abuse
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Mark Your Calendars! Feb. 22 is the day to protect kids

Have you signed the petition to protect children from sexual abuse?  Click here to sign now.     Email: [email protected] Feb. 22,  7:00-8PM SUNY Brockport Metro Center 55 St. Paul Street, Rochester, NY 14604   Panel Discussion on eliminating...
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Cops bust Long Island priest after finding child porn, drugs in his home

A Long Island Episcopal priest was arrested for having videos of child pornography and illegal drugs in his home
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Thoughtful Parenting: Children and trauma

Many parents find themselves needing to parent a traumatized child. Learning what trauma is and how a parent can respond is an important first step.
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Bullying Barron Trump

There is no excuse, ever, for adults to bully children, particularly in the highly-public ways that Barron Trump is being subjected to
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Will New Jewish Effort Force New York To Change Sex Abuse Laws at Last?

Sara Kabakov, like most child sex abuse survivors, never got her day in court. But unlike most survivors, her abuser became one of the forces keeping most survivors from justice
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Victims Still Healing From Child Sex Abuse Scars Could Soon Find Justice

A local sex abuse survivor and the director of the Child Advocacy Center discuss why eliminating the Statute of Limitations for child sexual abuse in NY would be a good thing.
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Fresno State AD reveals molestation as child, tells other victims ‘don’t be ashamed

Fresno State athletic director discusses his experiences as a child sexual abuse survivor and his battle with mental illness and recovery
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On MLK Day, I stand for the abused and all marginalized groups

This year, in honor of Martin Luther King Junior day, I will stand with survivors of child sexual abuse, another oppressed minority
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Frequently Asked Questions
Doesn't everyone experience some adversities in childhood?
Yes, but the ACE study did a good job at sorting out which ones are most likely to cause long term damage to someone throughout their lifespan. It also quantified exactly how damaging they are, and how they interact.
What are the ACE study factors?
There are three basic categories of factors; childhood abuse, childhood neglect, and household dysfunction. These, in turn, are broken down into ten separate experiences, all of which are given an equal weight.  
So what exactly happens when a child experiences one of these things?
All of these events are so stressful to a child that they actually affect the way their brain grows and develops. The brain and endocrine system release chemicals that are useful in ensuring short-term survival, but are harmful to long-term health. They also make changes in the way cells interact with their own DNA.
How can things that happen in childhood have such a long-term effect on a child's future?
There are some logical relationships between some of these effects. A child whose brain developed under chronic stress is going to crave experiences that make that brain act normally. Alcohol, tobacco and street drugs all can help achieve those ends. Since the drive to use those is partially biological, it makes logical sense that this helps lead to the increased risk of addiction that is seen in people with high ACE scores. And the use of these drugs, in and of themselves, causes an increased risk for many of the diseases that ultimately kill people.
Aren’t things like abuse and sexual assault bad for adults, too?
Yes they are. However, an adult’s brain is much less flexible and less influenced by external events than a child’s brain. Children also have fewer coping mechanisms than adults do to enable them to deal with any and all forms of trauma.
What about a child who is rescued from a very abusive home while very young, doesn’t remember much of the abuse and then goes on to have a happy childhood?
If the child experiences an ACE, they experience it. Even if they have no conscious memory of the event, their body, brain and DNA were still were affected by it. It is certainly better for them to go on and have a happy childhood than an unhappy one- this contributes to resiliency. Therapies can help undo much of the damage. But forgetting the abuse, forgiving the abuser, etc., still doesn’t entirely undo the damage.
I have a high ACE score. Does that mean I should cash in my retirement fund now and enjoy the time I have left?
No. These numbers are statistical averages. Every teenager who commits suicide, for example, cuts many years off the average lifespan of people in the study group. People with high ACE scores can live long lives, especially if they are mindful of self-care.
What about children with high ACE scores? Isn’t it awful to say that a very young child is doomed, completely through no fault of their own?
There is evidence showing that many of the changes that happen in a child’s brain as a result of ACE’s can be largely reversed with appropriate therapies, especially if those therapies are started while the child is still young. This is why health care for children, including mental health care, must always be a priority. Yes, it is absolutely awful to say that a young child is doomed, completely through no fault of their own. That doesn’t mean we can ignore the evidence, as grim as it may be. Rather, it shows why it is so important that we work together to stop abuse.
How many people have each type of  ACE?
  • Emotional Abuse 10.6%
  • Physical Abuse 28.3%
  • Sexual Abuse 20.7%
  • Emotional Neglect 14.8%
  • Mother Treated Violently 12,7%
  • Household Substance Abuse 26.9%
  • Household Mental Illness 19.4%
  • Parental Separation or Divorce 23.3%
  • Incarcerated Household Member 4.7%
How many people have each ACE score?
  • Number of people with an ACE of 0 36.1%
  • Number of people with an ACE score of 1 26%
  • Number of people with an ACE score of 2 15.9%
  • Number of people with an ACE score of 3 9.5%
  • Number of people with an ACE score of 4 or more 12.5%

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