The European Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect (EUCCAN) took place from May 23 – May 25 2012 in ‘The Meervaart’ in Amsterdam.
The program consisted of both plenary sessions and focus sessions in smaller groups. Participants from many different professions were present, for example pediatricians, forensic doctors, surgeons, lawyers, child therapists, social workers and many others. A broad range of subjects was been addressed.
On the first day, May 23, the conference started with a welcome speech by Eric Van der Burg, alderperson of the City of Amsterdam, followed by lectures by Chris Hobbs on the history of child abuse, Kevin Browne on the prevalence of child abuse and Vincent Felitti on long-term consequences (Adverse Childhood Experience study). In the afternoon, four focus sessions took place: on domestic violence, screening and long-term consequences, sexual abuse and the deceased child. Both national and international speakers were giving lectures, alternating with scientific sessions of each time ten minutes, presented by selected participants of the conference.
Simultaneously, there was a one-halfday conference for teachers working in daycares and primary schools (this was in Dutch). In this special conference five lectures were given. Sonja Brilleslijper-Kater spoke about how to recognize signs of child abuse and neglect, Marjanne van Esveld, Marjon Donkers and Myra ter Meulen presented on how to deal with child abuse and neglect as a professional working with children, Marga Haagmans gave a lecture on a child abuse and neglect e-laerning program, Har Tortike spoke about a special lessons instrument meant to talk to children about their experiences called ‘save you, save me’ and finally Jolande Schoonenberg presented on the possibilities in the Dutch CPS system.
May 24, the second day, started with plenary lectures about neglect. Ingrid Russel spoke about criteria for neglect, Marcel Schmeets presented on the state-of-the-art on neurobiological consequences of child abuse and neglect and Marja Rexwinkel gave a lecture on treatment of neglect in young children. This was followed by a very interesting presentation of Hameeda Lakho in cooperation with Bas van Hout, on their personal experiences.
In the afternoon there were four focus session, on sexual exploitation, communication, cutaneous manifestations of child abuse and on neurological and radiological aspects of child abuse. Again, lectures were alternated with short scientific sessions.
On the last day, May 25, we started with four focus sessions (lectures and short scientific sessions) on emotional abuse and neglect, on treatment of child abuse, on abusive head trauma and on forensic aspects of child abuse. In the afternoon, Bert van Puyenbroeck gave a lecture together with Els M. who told a very moving personal story. Subsequently, Ramon Lindauer presented an overview of treatment possibilities of psychological trauma. The conference was concluded with a presentation of youngsters by the STUK theater group.
The organisation committee received many enthusiastic reactions about the content of the program and the inspiring atmosphere. We are planning to organize a second EUCCAN in 2014 and are looking forward to meet many international colleagues again.