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Cunninghame House, Irvine, KA12 8EE

Adverse Childhood Experiences: Start Where You Are and Do What You Can

Community Justice Ayrshire in collaboration with Community Justice Scotland are hosting an event on Friday 16th February 2018.

This event has been well received and we have received over 270 expressions of interest for 150 delegate places. This is a pan-Ayrshire, multi-disciplinary conference. We have an excellent variety of experts lined up for the conference. Their biographies are listed below.

Karyn McCluskey

Karyn spent 21 years working with the police and helped establish the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit in 2005. She is a member of the WHO Violence Prevention Alliance and also helped set up the Medics Against Violence charity in Scotland, which speak to school children about violence reduction, injury and keeping safe.  She has also previously developed a plan to tackle violence for the Metropolitan Police and has published work on Armed Robbery teams, Alcohol and Violence Interventions in a clinical setting and Violence Reduction. In addition, Karyn is a Non-Executive Director at Scottish Professional Football League and a board member of Simon Community Scotland. Since late 2016 Karyn has been Chief Executive of Community Justice Scotland, where she leads a team who are dedicated to promoting new ways of working that can improve service delivery and create better outcomes for individuals and society.


James Docherty

James is a Development Officer within the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), establishing a Mentoring programme with Medics against Violence. In addition, James also has an Advisory role with Community Justice Scotland. James has previously worked on various VRU projects mentoring people with convictions seeking to re-create their lives and supporting change. Previously James worked with a leading Children’s charity diversion programme which worked with young people on the cusp of organised crime. He has campaigned fervently for awareness around ACEs and how they are the leading causes of the symptoms we see in our criminal justice system.


Dr Suzanne Zeedyk

Dr Suzanne Zeedyk is a research scientist fascinated by babies’ inborn capacity to communicate. Since 1993, she has been based at the University of Dundee, within the School of Psychology. In 2011, she set up her own independent training enterprise to disseminate more widely the science of the early years. She now spends much of her time speaking to the public about our human need for emotional and physiological connection. Suzanne is able to bring to this her research expertise on topics including parent-infant relationships, family support, communicative disorders, and the socio-political contexts that frame our responses to scientific information. She works closely with organisations throughout the world to increase awareness of the decisions we take about caring for children, illuminating the way in which those decisions are integrally connected to our vision for the kind of society we wish to build.


Dr Michael Smith

Dr Michael Smith (MD, FRCPsych) is Associate Medical Director for Mental Health & Addiction Services in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS) at the University of Strathclyde. He trained as a General Practitioner in Glasgow, and then as a Psychiatrist in the West of Scotland and Melbourne, Australia. He was a founding member of the “see me” campaign against stigma in Scotland and set up the award-winning ‘Doing Well’ depression programme in Renfrewshire. He worked with the Scottish Government’s Mental Health Collaborative from 2008-11 to rationalise the use of antidepressants in Scotland. His research interests are in depression, public mental health, and especially the influence of attachment and adverse childhood experiences. Michael is a founding member of the multi-agency Scottish Adverse Childhood Experiences Hub, hosted by NHS Health Scotland.


Jennie Young

Jennie Young works within NHS Forth Valley Behavioural Psychotherapy Service Trauma Clinic and is a keen advocate of increasing trauma awareness and improving trauma informed care in mental health services. She works across primary and secondary care settings and provides trauma focussed treatment, education, training, supervision and consultations across sectors. Jennie has been seconded to the University of Stirling Faculty of Health Science and Sport since 2014. This was to strengthen clinical / academic links and develop a trauma and attachment informed approach to nurse education. Embedding Psychological Trauma and its impact across the lifespan, is a core ethos of the BSc in Mental Health undergraduate course and Jennie developed and delivered the MSc module “Toward a Psychological Trauma Informed Future”. Jennie believes that “What happened to you?” before “What’s wrong with you?” is fundamental in developing compassionate trauma informed approaches within our services.  Jennie has presented at various conferences and events in relation to the impact of trauma and adverse childhood events.


Dr Warren Larkin

Dr Warren Larkin is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Visiting Professor at Sunderland University. He is also the Clinical Lead for the Department of Health Adverse Childhood Experiences programme and a Director at Warren Larkin Associates Ltd. He has a long-standing interest in the relationships between childhood adversity and outcomes later in life.  He has spent most of his career working in specialist early intervention services with individuals and families who are experiencing psychosis.  He has published numerous research articles on the topic of trauma and mental health and published the first book exploring the subject of trauma and psychosis in 2006.  This edited book is now commissioned for a second edition.  Warren spent the last 5 years as an NHS Network Clinical Director leading systems change in the North West of England.  He led one of the two national IAPT (Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies) demonstration sites for Psychosis and was a member of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services National Task Force.  Warren also developed the REACh approach (Routine Enquiry about Adversity in Childhood) as a way of assisting organisations to become more trauma-informed and to support professionals to ask routinely about adversity in their everyday practice.

Quote, “Waiting until people are sick, mentally unwell or in crisis before we try to help them is not working.  I want to see a world where childhood adversity is a thing of the past and prevention rather than cure is the new status quo.”


Due to the amount of interest in this event, we have decided that it would be worthwhile filming the event, to use for further training and events. This will also be shown on our website at a later date.

You can follow live tweets of the event on our Twitter account @CJAyrshire #traumainformed

Stay tuned for the evaluation of the event.