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ISPCAN Celebrates 30 Years

On July 7, 2007, ISPCAN celebrated its 30th Anniversary. Thirty years from that date, Colorado pediatrician C. Henry Kempe assembled a group of child abuse professionals from around the world to found an international organization that would support and advance their work.


The organization's first initiatives were to publish an international journal and hold an international conference on child abuse and neglect. ISPCAN's monthly, peer-reviewed journal, Child Abuse and Neglect: The International Journal, is now the preeminent publication in the field of CAN, and its biennial International Congress has become the most prestigious international conference on CAN worldwide. In the past 30 years, this International Congress has been held in 17 cities around the world, including Geneva, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Montreal, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, Hamburg, Chicago, Kuala Lumpur, Dublin, Auckland, Durban, Denver, Brisbane, and Hong Kong.

(Dr. Henry Kempe working with a group of children)


ISPCAN has built on these successes. Over the last 10 years, the organization has dramatically expanded its worldwide efforts to prevent CAN by supporting the development of National Professional Societies; introducing regional conferences in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Arab world, and Russia; and conducting training of professionals in close to 30 developing countries around the world.


It has developed specialized curricula for training medical professionals, mental health professionals, and multidisciplinary teams of professionals on CAN. It also conducts Training of Trainers and Training of Facilitators, so countries have a group of local professionals who can conduct ongoing training on CAN. To date, ISPCAN has conducted training on CAN in Albania, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Colombia, D. R. of the Congo, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, India, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan, Palestine, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, and Yemen.


Through its journal, conferences, and training events, ISPCAN advances the research and knowledge on child abuse and neglect. It also conducts its own independent research and collaborates with UNICEF, WHO, and other international organizations and nongovernmental organizations to produce research and reports on CAN. In 2006, ISPCAN contributed to the UN World Report on Violence Against Children, the WHO-ISPCAN Guide on Preventing Child Maltreatment, and the UNICEF-Oak-ISPCAN model research questionnaires on CAN, known as ICAST. And every two years, ISPCAN publishes World Perspectives, a report on the status of CAN worldwide. The latest edition, published in 2008, surveyed the status of CAN in 74 countries.


ISPCAN has consulted to and is currently working to support the U.N. Committee on the Convention of the Rights of the Child. It has partnered closely with Save the Children (internationally and regionally), ECPAT, Terre des Hommes, ILO/IPEC, World Vision a nd other key organizations working to protect children worldwide. It also is a major resource on CAN for more than 150 UNICEF offices around the world.


In short, ISPCAN has become the global leader on the prevention of child abuse and neglect, the organization that governments and international organizations consult with on issues related to CAN. No other agency has the international membership; the international network of national partners; and the international journal, conferences, training, website, and listserv dedicated exclusively to the prevention of child abuse and neglect worldwide. No other organization has worked globally and exclusively to prevent violence against children for 30 years.

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