There will be discussion of the kind that interests me, of society-wide approaches to prevention of ill-treatment of children
In September I’ll be going to the twentieth ISPCAN Congress in Nagoya, Japan. ISPCAN stands for International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, the primary body that joins forces internationally against ill-treatment of children. I am most grateful to the T.O.Y. (Treasure Our Youth) Foundation who are sponsoring my participation in the Congress. They are a New Zealand charity that aims to prevent child abuse and neglect in this country.
ISPCAN was founded in 1977 and has had an international meeting every second year since the first one in 1976 that led to its foundation. I joined in 1986 when I went with a group of New Zealanders to the sixth congress in Sydney in 1986. We were members of the ministerial advisory committee on child abuse and neglect, set up to review legislation and policy in New Zealand. Between us we went to all the presentations and on our return to New Zealand prepared written reports on each of them so that we got a grip on what was going on in the field internationally.
In the early 90s some of us, notably Robin Fancourt, Claire Hurst and Simon Jefferson believed New Zealand would benefit if we were to hold a congress here. We prepared a bid and at the tenth congress in Kuala Lumpur in 1994 our team was successful in securing the twelfth congress for Auckland for 1998.
The Auckland congress was a success, attracting 1400 local and international participants and providing fruitful discussion of the many community, clinical, legal and other aspects of child abuse and neglect.
The most recent congress I went to was the seventeenth, in York, England in 2008 where I gave a paper on what it might be that has led to much lower rates of child homicide in some countries than in others such as ours.
What attracted me to this year’s congress was the title, ‘Towards child-centred societies: Learn from the past, act for the future’. It suggests there will be discussion of the kind that interests me, of society-wide approaches to prevention of ill-treatment of children. Looking at the programme, I can see some promising titles of keynote addresses, papers and symposia. I look forward to absorbing what I can and bringing something useful back with me.