Child abuse is never not in the news. Nationally, priest sexual abuse cases continue to make headlines. Locally, the Danieal Kelly case is in court again, with more people on trial in the death of the disabled teenager.
Over 600 professionals who work in the field of child abuse prevention are gathering in Philadelphia for their annual conference, and will look at this troubling issue from a variety of perspectives.
During the conference, members of the American professional Society on the Abuse of Children, APSAC, are discussing the rise in child fatalities from abuse, and the impact of policy decisions, such as favoring keeping families intact over removing kids from abusive homes. They will also discuss the latest treatments, and how predators use new technologies to find potential victims.
Other workshops focus on training different professionals who interact with abused children.
Viola Vaughan-Eden is president-elect of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, which hosts the conference. She says one weak point in the system is a lack of follow-up after members of law enforcement investigate an incident.
“Sometimes there is not the follow-through because they are not always trained to understand the dynamics of what’s happening, and the long-term impact, that if a family is experiencing domestic violence today they are likely to experience it tomorrow, and likely to have it increase or escalate,” said Vaughan-Eden
Vaughan-Eden says training police officers on how to ask the right questions, and especially how to interview an abused child is crucial.
She adds that while the workshops and training sessions are crucial for professionals, the conference serves another important function for people who work in the field–dealing with the emotional toll their work takes: “Just being here with other people that do the work, that understand the level of stress that is being experienced, and the difficulty of the cases is a lot of support.”
The conference goes through Saturday, July 16th, 2011.