The Incredible Impacts Programme celebrates the “beyond tourism” value of international association meetings to create a powerful platform to advocate their positive societal impact. A panel of independent judges from the association world each year determines which meetings have proven impact to award three grants of USD 7,500 on behalf of BestCities Global Alliance and ICCA.
In 2019, the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) won one of the three grants.
The International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN)
The International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) is a multidisciplinary body which connects 6000 professionals from the fields of psychiatry, psychology, medicine, nursing, social work, education, law, public health & government through a series of three annual conferences held around the world.
Throughout its 40 year existence, the organisation’s key aim has been to communicate the latest academic findings and data from the field of research to the frontline of local child abuse and neglect initiatives in each conference region, with an emphasis of the value of survivors’ lived experience.
Their Incredible Impact
The ISPCAN Caribbean Congress in Jamaica focused on prioritising the input of young people from within the region, as well as that of abuse survivors from the Caribbean.
A recent joint study by the UN Office of Drugs and Crime and the World Bank on crime and violence in the Caribbean, sexual assault, sexual violence and domestic violence appear to be on the rise across the region.
Key among the impacts on the Caribbean conferences, were the acknowledgement that Caribbean youth face particularly distressing situations unique to the region. The IPSCAN Youth Congress sought to involve young people in the process of driving social and governmental change, prioritising this as a key facet in the congress’ legacy outcome.
Each conference works to create a stronger system of prevention, diagnosis and care in the region. Local youth leaders examined critical issues related to the trafficking of children, with special focus on sex tourism, its prevalence and societal implications and focussed on preventative mechanisms. Indicators of trafficking and sex tourism were given special priority, and as well as developments around best practices and the development of action plans.
Author Julie Mansfield, a child abuse survivor and founder of Give Me Dignity organisation supporting girls exposed to sexual abuse, delivered a powerful keynote speech. Her book, Maybe God Was Busy, chronicles her experiences and victory over abuse. Fellow author, activist and abuse survivor Karen McIntosh delivered “Things You Can’t Tell by Just Looking at Her”, a presentation and a motivational tool to educate children about the dangers of being too trusting.
After the Caribbean Congress, over 100 individuals from the region joined ISPCAN. As members, they now have access to all resources, publications, best practices and networking available from ISPCAN. ISPCAN International Congress also emboldened local agencies and members of the public to call for government action to address the issues through policy changes.
Senator The Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith, who is Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade, introduced the Child Care Protection Act, Sexual Offences Act and Sexual Offences Act, Offenses against the Person Act, the Domestic Violence Act and Trafficking Persons Act (Prevention, Suppression & Punishment).
Intentions for Grant Money
In their upcoming congresses, Oman 2019 Congress and Qatar 2020 Congress, they intend to introduce training for allied professionals (teachers and police, etc.) who may not attend the scientific congress, but who are a critical part of the child protection network.
In Adelaide 2020, they plan to also add town hall meetings to bring the business community and general public also in to brainstorm the problems and real, sustainable solutions.
They also intend to implement live streaming of ISPCAN congress, enabling agents in child protection sectors in some of the poorest regions of the world to access up to date findings, strategies and resources, and broadening impact in the mission to protect children in every corner of the world, striving for them to live a life free from all forms of abuse and neglect.
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