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Resilient Wisconsin: Adverse Childhood Experiences

What are adverse childhood experiences?

Adverse childhood experiences are traumatic experiences that happen before the age of 18. Adverse childhood experiences include abuse, neglect, or witnessing violence in the home. These can have a lasting, negative effect on our lives throughout adulthood. 


According to Wisconsin Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey data from 2017 to 2018, 59% of Wisconsin residents surveyed reported at least one ACE in the past. And research shows that the more ACEs a person has, the higher their risk for many health challenges later in life. 

Fortunately, we can prevent ACEs and their harmful effects. How? By providing children with safe, stable, and nurturing spaces to thrive.

Know the types 

Get to know the most common ACE’s that can have a lasting impact on children’s lives. 


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Emotional abuse


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Sexual abuse


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Physical abuse


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Emotional neglect


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Physical neglect


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Mental illness


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Domestic violence


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Substance use


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Incarceration of a loved one


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Parental separation


Adverse childhood experiences include: 

  • Abuse: Specifically, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. 
  • Neglect: Both physical and emotional neglect. 
  • Household trauma: Witnessing violence in the home, substance use, mental illness, separated or divorced parents, or having a caregiver or loved one spend time incarcerated. 

Looking for adverse childhood experiences data? We're updating the charts and graphs. New information will be available soon. 

Last revised February 4, 2023