Northern Ireland lags well behind Wales and Scotland in helping young children who are neglected or abused, a report released by the DUP suggests. Hope for Every Child looks at the support available to those who suffer Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). "Wales and Scotland are well ahead of NI in terms of ACE awareness and the levels of subsequent support and training," the report concludes.
Its author, a DUP councillor, said NI needs to become "trauma-informed". That means more understanding of why children may end up in trouble, and putting in place appropriate interventions to reduce this.
"Proactive prevention is more efficient, effective and fiscally sound than reactive cure," said the report by Cllr Peter Martin. "Very often this is about firstly identifying and then supporting both young children and parents in extremely difficult circumstances," it added.
"To give an illustrative example, is it the child's fault that they have put a brick through someone's window? "It is because they perpetrated the act against an innocent person, but equally, we need to consider why they did it?"