Sidra Medicine, a member of Qatar Foundation, will be hosting a conference in partnership with the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN), from 15 to 17 February at Grand Hyatt Doha.

ISPCAN Qatar 2020 is themed on ‘Child Protection, The Journey So Far and the Future Ahead’, and will focus on approaches to stop violence against children based on proven scientific knowledge and research. Sidra Medicine and ISPCAN are working together to create awareness on the issue, while striving to change the lives of children who are victims of abuse.

More than ten local and international experts in child advocacy and child protection will be speaking at ISPCAN Qatar conference, including Linda Steele from the US National Child Advocacy Center who will focus on the art of interviewing children in cases of suspected child abuse; and Anthony Macdonald, Director of UNICEF EMRO Region from the School of Violence in the Middle East, who specialises in data and challenges.

The other guest speakers are: Howard Taylor, Executive Director of the Global Partnership to End Violence, who will speak about ending violence against children; Professor Muthanna Samra, Professor of Psychology, Kings College, UK, who will give a keynote on protecting children in the age of smartphones and the internet. The conference will also see the CEO of the International Center for Sports and Human Rights, Mary Harvey, talk about violence against children in sports and exercise.

Keynote speakers from the region include Professor Figen Sahin Dagli from Gazi University in Turkey, Professor Muhammad Ghaly from the University of Qatar, and Dr Bernard Gerbaka, an established paediatrician from Lebanon.

Professor Khalid Al Ansari, Chair of Emergency Medicine at Sidra Medicine and founder of Sidra’s Child Advocacy Program, said that the fight against child abuse is a global issue and that they look forward to welcoming  a strong lineup of international and local experts to build strong support systems for childrens and families.

We are committed to raising awareness, working with the community and key government partners so that together, we can advance and develop programmes that will serve as permanent solutions to tackling this ongoing social problem.’

ISPCAN Qatar 2020 will also address key issues such as psycho-social support for families; victims and perpetrators of child abuse; as well as analyse and find psychological solutions for abused children. Other relevant topics such as the role of medical care systems in preventing child maltreatment, special circumstances like sports and child safety, care of refugees and children in conflict zones, and children with special needs will also be tackled.

Sidra Medicine launched its Child Advocacy Program in 2018 to coordinate the care of children suspected of suffering from abuse and neglect and provide resources and quality care. A dedicated Sidra Medicine Child Helpline – 4003 4000 – is available and open to the public in cases when anyone needs to report child abuse or neglect.

This program is manned by trained doctors, nurses and social workers, who will provide a safe, discrete facility for interviews, medical examinations and for filing of medico-legal reports. The programme supports children and families and can also arrange the necessary referrals and coordinate care.

To register to the ISPCAN Qatar 2020 conference, visit ispcan.org. You can also visit Sidra Medicine for updates.