ON THURSDAY of this week, I will speaking in a debate in the Scottish Parliament that acknowledges what it sees as the devastation caused to lives through adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

The organisation Wave Trust has a campaign called 70/30 Campaign to eradicate poverty and reduce child abuse and neglect and other ACEs by at least 70 per cent by 2030.

The 70/30 Campaign pledge to is to create a better future for everyone, including for people in East Lothian.

Preventing ACEs must be seen within the wider context of tackling societal inequalities and I thank the 70/30 Campaign for their work on reducing child abuse, neglect and other adverse childhood experiences.

There is more risk of experiencing ACEs in areas of higher deprivation. In East Lothian, almost a quarter of children are living in poverty, a rise from 2014.

I commend the Scottish Government for implementing policies such as the uplift on the Scottish Child Payment; however, there is much more to do to reach the target of reduction by 70 per cent by 2030.

When children are exposed to adverse and stressful experiences, it can have a long-lasting impact on their ability to think, interact with others and on their learning. There is much that can be done to offer hope and build resilience in children, young people and adults who have experienced adversity in early life.

It is crucial to note that people with high numbers of ACEs in their childhood often have strong resilience and are able to lead fulfilled lives. Protective factors in children’s lives can mitigate many of the adverse effects of these experiences.

Locally in East Lothian, policies on care-experienced young people, carers strategy and young carers strategy, positive destinations, links with Queen Margaret University and Edinburgh College, education and curriculum strategies, and child protection policies are examples which impact on the development of the approach to support those with ACEs.

Lastly, an ongoing focus looking at building resilience in individuals and communities with raising ACE awareness is key.

I look forward to working with others in East Lothian to give those who have had adverse childhood experiences the best start in life.