14 Nov 2005

Conference on child protection, abuse

SINGAPORE : Finding an Asian solution to problems of child protection and abuse is what international experts meeting in Singapore over the next few days hope to achieve.

Like adults, children too have rights and needs, which include being free from abuse and neglect.

They are also entitled to develop in all aspects of their lives - both physical and emotional.

But not all children are accorded these and the IPSCAN (International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect) conference hopes to address some of them.

Associate Professor John Elliot, organiser of the 6th IPSCAN Asian Regional Conference said: “There are issues of child abuse and neglect that need to be addressed but I think there's also more of a need for respective professionals in the respective countries to be talking to one another.

“They should be comparing notes and moving forward together to find an Asian solution on how you bring children up in an Asian society and the ways to protect them and maximise their potential."

Among the topics to be discussed are setting global standards in child protection, and protecting children in disasters and emergencies such as last year's tsunami and more recently, the South Asian earthquake.

A comparative study of nine countries on the physical and emotional punishment of children will also be presented.

Experts say abuse in children is sometimes difficult to detect, especially in cases which occur in families and where there are no visible injuries."

I think that in Asian society, we tend to be reluctant to accept the possibility of child abuse. It's something that nobody likes to admit that it's a problem in their society. Everyone wants to think that it's something that happens in other societies," said Associate Professor John Elliot."

But anyone who investigates these issues discover that they will find some residual, small abuse in every society," he said.

In Singapore, the number of abuse cases reported is about 200 for the past few years, lower than those in other countries.But experts warn that this may also be because some cases were not reported.

Some 460 delegates from 38 countries will be attending the conference which will also see the official launch of the Asian Regional Network. It will serve as a forum to look into child abuse and protection in the Asia Pacific region.


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