Policy dialogue on preventing adverse childhood experiences (ACE) in Latvia and other Nordic Baltic countries

The first policy dialogue on preventing adverse childhood experiences (ACE) in Latvia and other Nordic Baltic countries was held in Riga, Latvia on 9 May 2012.

There were about 30 participants at this meeting consisting of focal persons and experts from the Nordic Baltic countries. Participants were welcomed by Dr Aiga Rurane, Head of the WHO Country Office in Latvia, Ms Turid Kristin Lilleng, First Secretary of the Royal Norwegian Embassy, Dr Inge Smate from the Ministry of Health and Ambassador Imants Gross from the Nordic Council of Ministers Office in Latvia.

WHO presented an overview of problem of child maltreatment and ACE in Europe, emphasizing their importance for health outcomes in later life, both in propensity to violence and noncommunicable disease. Presentations from Latvia and Lithuania both reported the high prevalence of ACE, and the associations with health risk behaviours and health outcomes. This was followed by a policy dialogue where experiences from different Nordic and Baltic countries were shared.

Participants agreed that child maltreatment prevention is a priority area which has been largely neglected in health policy and should receive greater recognition as a human right.