Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit

On the 9th January, Greater Manchester took its next step in becoming an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) and trauma responsive city-region by bringing together over 550 people to highlight the impact of ACEs and trauma on individuals and communities, hear from people with lived experience, and share an update on progress made to date.

In partnership with Greater Manchester’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), the event showcased the innovative work that is happening across Greater Manchester, including how local expertise is leading the way in shifting thinking, and how public services can better support people to both prevent trauma and support them through their recovery.

Speakers with lived experience of trauma shared their experiences and thoughts on how to create change. This included:

The Executive Leads for this movement, Professor Helen Lowey, Dr Paul Wallis, and Debbie Blackburn jointly hosted the event and encouraged attendees to share their ideas, their experience, and find out more about the excellent work that is already happening – and kept everyone to time! They also encouraged people to visit ‘the brain’ and see how this can be used within communities.

Greater Manchester Police shared updates from the development of their child-centred policing strategy which includes ensuring the force are ACE and trauma responsive. Insight was also shared on best practise through the system wide evaluation that has been undertaken, including ensuring a coordinated population approach to reducing exposure to ACEs by Liverpool John Moores University. The Greater Manchester Resilience Hub shared best practise on how to navigate the impact of trauma and loss at work, and Anthony Benedict, Executive Headteacher from Tameside Pupil Referral Service, shared the principles of relational inclusion and how these can be applied in an education setting.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, and Kate Green, Deputy Mayor for policing, crime, criminal justice, and fire, reinforced their commitment to being a trauma responsive city-region and highlighted why this is so important for Greater Manchester. The Deputy Mayor explained how the Greater than Violence strategy, launched in December 2023, will contribute to this work. You can read more about the strategy here: Greater Than Violence Strategy – Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit (

Kate Green, Deputy Mayor for policing, crime, criminal justice, and fire, said: “Becoming a trauma responsive city-region is a priority for us as we know the devastating impact trauma and ACEs can have on development and future life chances. Hearing from those who have experienced trauma and ACEs and using their experiences to shape our priorities and direction is vital.

“We have made good progress on our journey to become trauma responsive, but we know there is a way to go. Through the Greater than Violence strategy we have made several commitments including ensuring that by 2028 all Greater Manchester public sector bodies are trauma-informed and responsive by making training widely available, and embedding trauma responsive approaches across voluntary services and community organisations, particularly those that work with children and young people.

“By working closely with our partners and communities we will deliver against these commitments and more to ensure we are truly trauma responsive, reduce exposure to trauma and ACEs and offer the best possible support and opportunities to those impacted.”

Professor Helen Lowey, Public Health Consultant at Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit, said: “It was absolutely fantastic to see so many people come together and to be part of such an important movement. The energy, the conversations and the buzz in the room was fantastic to be part of. ACEs and trauma is such an important topic – we need to keep talking about it. By working together we raise awareness of ACES and trauma but also prevent it from happening in the first place – and we want as many people as possible to be part of this movement – and to enable change to happen.”

Dr Paul Wallis, Director of Psychological Services at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It’s a great privilege to be part of a movement across so many sectors, organisations, and communities to embed trauma responsive thinking and practice. The event was a fantastic showcase for so much amazing work already taking place across Greater Manchester, and we are enormously proud that once again Greater Manchester is at the forefront of innovation in and commitment to a key agenda which will impact directly on the mental health and wellbeing of our population.”

Debbie Blackburn, Director Childrens Commissioning, Nursing and Wellbeing, at Salford City Council, said: “We are so pleased that so many people are passionate and recognise the need for this movement. This conference is just the beginning in celebrating the great work happening in so many sectors and localities. We know this is a long journey and are committed to supporting this by connecting people and changing culture and practice.”

Watch a short clip from the event here: Greater Manchester hosts first ACEs and trauma conference (

Keep up to date with the latest information and upcoming events by visiting- Trauma Responsive Greater Manchester (

Article posted on: 13/02/2024 03:02pm

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