Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Trauma

Our work to prevent and reduce the negative impact of childhood adversity and trauma.

Trauma responsive social work services

The Office of the Chief Social Work Adviser (OCSWA) has appointed a Programme Lead to work with key stakeholders to ensure Scotland’s social work services are able to recognise where people are affected by trauma, and to respond in ways which reduce risks of retraumatising and supports recovery.

OCSWA are working closely with our Trauma, ACES and Resilience Unit, NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and the Improvement Service to ensure this work aligns with the National Trauma Training Programme.

OCSWA has established:

  • an Expert Advisory Group which includes individuals providing social work services across Scotland from various practices and those with lived experience of trauma and organisations representing them
  • a Partnership Delivery Group which includes key stakeholders with responsibility for the delivery of the Trauma Responsive Social Work Services Work Plan

The groups report progress and updates to the Social Work Education Partnership and the National Trauma Training Steering Group for strategic oversight.

Trauma Responsive Social Work Services Work Plan

After extensive engagement with key partners, a workplan has been agreed. The plan will:

  • ensure relevant breadth and depth of trauma knowledge and skills are embedded into social work education and the forthcoming Newly Qualified Social Worker Mandatory Supported Year and Advanced Practice Framework for social work
  • improve access to all appropriate levels of trauma training for social work services
  • promote current resources to social work workforce
  • establish an implementation support team to deliver a cohesive programme for the social work workforce, including support for operational middle and front line social work leaders
  • continue to draw on the expertise of those with lived experience of care and trauma to deliver the plan
  • ensure evaluation of all aspects of this programme of work
  • build sustainability into the programme through a range of actions, including development of train the trainers infrastructure relevant to the social work workforce

Further information

For more information on this programme, please contact the Trauma Responsive Social Work Services team at



Trauma, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Resilience Unit
Mental Health Directorate
Scottish Government
3ER - St. Andrew's House
Regent Road

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