ACE Study research in top ten for 12 years; domestic violence cost Alberta $600 million in 5 years; MD courts better at safety for DV victims

For the 12th year in a row, the first paper published about the CDC’s ACE Study has been on the American Journal of Preventive Medicine‘s top-ten most-read list. The paper jumped onto that list the year in 1999, the year after it was published.

Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults was published in 1998. Its authors: Vincent Felitti, Robert Anda, Dale Nordenberg, David Williamson, Alison Spitz, Valerie Edwards, Mary Koss and James Marks.

The ground-breaking study of 17,000 middle-class, mostly white, educated, employed people found that childhood trauma was very common and revealed a strong link between 10 types of childhood abuse,

neglect and family dysfunction and the adult onset of chronic illness, as well as violence, being a victim of violence, suicide and depression. Since then, neurobiological research has explained the reason: toxic stress from childhood trauma damages children’s developing brains, which makes it difficult, and in many cases impossible, for children to learn, to trust adults and/or to develop healthy relationships with people their own age. They turn to alcohol and other drugs, food, high-risk sports, work, violence, and/or tobacco for relief, including succor from depression, a normal reaction to the toxic stress of severe childhood trauma.

In a nutshell, the study answered the question: Why do many people eat too much (or smoke too much or drink too much, etc.) even if they’ve been told it’s bad for their health?

Last year, more than 6,000 full-text requests were made for the paper; the next closest was at 2,053, according a note that AJPM managing editor, Charlotte Seidman, sent to ACE co-founders Drs. Vincent Felitti and Robert Anda.


AJPM is the official journal of the American College of Preventive Medicine and the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HAS COST ALBERTA, CANADA, $600 million over the last five years, according to this story by Eva Ferguson  on But the good news is that family violence can be prevented, and doing so can save billions of dollars in the long run. Ferguson focused on research by a University of Calgary School of Public Policy report: “Preventing Domestic Violence in Alberta: A Cost Savings Perspective”. Besides the personal costs of suffering by mostly women and children, the economic costs include health care, legal aid, social assistance, counseling and addictions treatment.

“Once the costs for police, legal and court costs, lost time at work and the devastating effects that witnessing domestic violence has on children are factored in, the total cost of addressing domestic violence in Alberta could be up to $1 billion over 5 years”, according to this writeup from PR Newswire that appeared on

In the research summary, authors Lana WellsCasey Boodt and Herb Emery note that prevention can be very cost effective…

….returning as much as $20 for every dollar invested. Recent research on preventative programming in the context of domestic violence shows promising results in reducing incidents of self-reported domestic violence. The economic analysis of this preventative programming suggests that the benefits of providing the various types of programming outweighed the costs by as much as 6:1. The potential cost savings for the Alberta context are significant; the implementation of these preventative programs has been estimated to be approximately $9.6 million while generating net cost-benefits of over $54 million.

In other words, according to the PR Newswire writeup, “for each case of domestic violence that is prevented, the report states there is a savings of $13,162 in “downstream” intervention costs, which include women’s shelters, emergency room visits, police, justice, etc.”

So far, that includes improvements to existing programs like in-home nurse visitations for new mothers and better educating nurses to identify the signs of domestic violence.

In the report, Wells suggested prevention efforts focus on in-home nurse visitations for new mothers, better education for health care workers to spot domestic violence, and educating high school students about healthy relationships.

Here’s the PDF of the report: UCalgaryPreventingDV.

A NONPROFIT MONITORING MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD, court hearings for family violence restraining orders notes progress in judges looking after the safety of victims. There’s more use of staggered exits — letting the victim leave 15 minutes ahead of the person accused of the abuse — according to this post by Jeremy Arias on Court Watch Montgomery also found that more judges are requiring victims and accused abusers listen to a recording that explains how restraining orders work, that accused abusers will go to jail if they violate the order, and that they must surrender their guns.

The work of the nonprofit has the support of Ben C. Clyburn, chief judge for the District Court of Maryland, who told Arias that he believes changes proposed by Court Watch Montgomery can be instituted at no cost.

Clyburn also mentioned his intent to bring in nonprofit domestic violence advocacy and support groups to help the courts identify lapses in victim protection and ensure that petitioners are made aware of all the services available to them in court and the community. In addition, 31 new bailiffs have been hired by the court system to further secure court buildings and, if necessary, escort domestic violence and other victims to and from hearings.

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