October 21 2011

9th ISPCAN Asia Pacific Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect

21/10/2011 - SOS Children's Villages was represented full steam at the 9th ISPCAN Asia Pacific Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN - International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect) held in New Delhi from 5 to 10 October at the National Law University and the Vigyan Bhawan conference centre.

Photo: SOS Archives
Conference participants from different Asian SOS Children's Villages associations - Photo: SOS Archives
The Continental Office for Asia of SOS Children's Villages International signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding, becoming a committed partner in the conference that was attended by more than 600 delegates from more than 40 countries. Colleagues from SOS Children's Villages of Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, India, and Cambodia attended the conference and also presented papers on how SOS Children's Villages contributes towards creating safe environments for children who have lost parental care or those at risk of losing parental care.

Besides presentations by SOS Children's Villages colleagues, the organisation also supported a key note address on the prevention theme by Dr Michael Ungar on Resilience (www.resilienceresearch.org). Dr Ungar is University Research Professor and Professor at the School of Social Work at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, and leads the research work on resilience internationally. He explained in detail how a child's resilience depends on more than the child's individual capacity to overcome the challenges that lead to alternative care.

It was for the first time that an ISPCAN conference was organised in India. The Ministry of Women and Child Development also became a committed partner to the conference along with the Government of India, Ministry of Law and Justice, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), Plan India, Child Fund India, India Alliance on Child Rights, HAQ: Centre for Child Rights, Save the Children, Child Rights and You-CRY, World Vision, National Law University, Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Indian Council of Child Welfare, PCI, United Nations Development Programme, Fortis Hospitals and Mohan Law House.

A unique achievement of this conference was the Delhi Declaration on the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect 2011 that emerged from contributions of the participants themselves. SOS Children's Villages participated in drafting the Declaration.

Demanding the highest priority and urgency for national, regional and international policy change and practical action to address and redress maltreatment, neglect, exploitation and violence that undermine children's potential across the region, the Delhi Declaration 2011 highlights the critical approaches and measures needed to prevent and remedy the widespread lack of safeguards. The participants called upon to recognise and address the harmful potential of certain social and cultural traditions and emerging values and practices and their influence on children. Also need was felt to identify, address and correct forms of violence which are socially accepted.

The incidence and range of child abuse and neglect in countries of Asia and the Pacific were discussed at the conference that beckoned governments and societies alike to find ways to prevent and overcome them. The conference discussed both concerns and good practices. Professionals from all over the Asia Pacific region and the world, from the fields of medicine, nursing, administration, mental health (psychology and psychiatry), social work, child welfare and advocacy, law and law enforcement, education and research participated.