MSP for Dundee City East, Shona Robison, is backing a local scheme to tackle experiences of childhood trauma through the use of hand-knitted teddy bears.

Longhaugh Police Station have teamed up with Children First Dundee to use “trauma teddies” to help break down barriers when working with young children in Dundee. The teddies are being gifted to young children during potentially traumatic experiences, with officers hoping the scheme will open up conversations and build trust between them and young Dundonians.

As more and more evidence highlights the correlation between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and long-term damage to physical and mental health, it is hoped that the support and comfort provided by the teddies may also have a positive impact on the long term health and prospects for Dundee’s youngest citizens.

The ‘trauma teddies’ are being knitted and donated by volunteers, with the pattern available to download online. Each teddy is then equipped with a Children First branded t-shirt and a tag signposting local support services such as Children First’s ParentLine Scotland. The teddies are then distributed at the discretion of local officers.

Dundee is the first part of Scotland to introduce this scheme, which is being championed by Community Constable Andrew Kerr and Inspector Chris Boath. Similar initiatives have been introduced in Australia and across England and Wales, though Longhaugh Police Station is the first in Scotland to utilise ‘trauma teddies’. Demand is now growing to rollout similar schemes throughout Scotland, including expansion across other emergency services and hopes to bring the teddies to Shetland, Edinburgh and Glasgow among others areas.

Local MSP Shona Robison visited Longhaugh Police Station to learn more about the initiative and discuss the importance of ACE awareness amongst Scotland’s emergency services. Ms Robison met with Inspector Chris Boath and PC Andy Kerr of Police Scotland, Linda Jardine and Jane Pengally from Children First.

Commenting on the scheme, Shona said:

“This is an excellent and innovative way to build relationships and trust with Dundee’s youngest citizens with our local police officers.

“There is a growing recognition of the impact that adverse childhood experiences can have later in life, and that these can not only have detrimental effects on health, but on the likelihood of perpetuating poverty and criminal behaviour. It may seem like a small gesture, but the long-term impact of a kind gesture from a police officer can go a long way to reduce childhood trauma and build bonds of trust with local police.”

“Both Inspector Boath and PC Kerr were extremely passionate about this initiative and their enthusiasm is infectious. I also applaud Children First for collaborating to develop the scheme, and for making the most of the opportunity to highlight the support that is available for children and parents.

“It’s brilliant that local services in Dundee have taken the lead in introducing something that has significant national potential.

“I’m looking forward to discussing this initiative with my fellow MSPs and would fully encourage more local authorities and police services across Scotland to look at how they too can benefit from Dundee’s experience. I was delighted to see the teddies and I’m pleased to give this initiative my full support.”



Photo (clockwise): Linda Jardine, Interim Director – Children and Family Services (Children First Dundee), Inspector Chris Boath (Police Scotland), Shona Robison MSP, PC Andrew Kerr, Jane Pengally, Service Manager (Children First Dundee).

The pattern for the trauma teddies can be found here:


For more information on Longhaugh Police Station, please visit:


For more information on Children First Dundee, please visit:


For more information on ParentLine Scotland, please visit:



Gavin Hugh

Senior Caseworker / Constituency Press Officer to Shona Robison MSP

Email: dundee.east.media@dundeesnp.org

Tel: 01382 903219

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