Child Abuse Prevention Month

1 10 2014

October once again marks Child Abuse Prevention month here in Ontario, and sadly not much has changed since last year at this time. The pending transformation of children’s mental health by the provincial government promises to bring improvements, and we wait and watch for those with significant hopes.

In the meantime, the United Nations has released two new reports – Hidden In Plain Sight: A statistical analysis of violence against children (with global figures and data from 190 countries), and Ending Violence Against Children: Six strategies for action (with case studies from around the globe). Both are part of UNICEF’s #ENDviolence against children initiative.

You can find copies of both reports here: http://www.unicef.org/protection/

endviolenceThis month, as you consider the state of the world’s children, please remember that right here at home 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually victimized before their 18th birthday. We absolutely must change that. Let your elected representatives at all levels of government know that you consider this to be a vital issue. Speak up for additional resources to be invested in child abuse prevention and treatment, and encourage others to do the same.





EXCLerator Project: women as leaders

28 09 2014

The Women & Diversity EXCLerator Project is the first of its kind to present a comprehensive overview of women’s representation in senior leadership positions in Hamilton and Halton’s most prominent organizations. In a project report recently released by YWCA Hamilton, in partnership with McMaster University and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce Women’s Leadership Group, an analysis of women in leadership across nine sectors provides a benchmark for measuring future progress.

“Ensuring women are proportionately represented at the decision-making table makes sense from a social and business perspective. Fair representation of women in top positions impacts organizations’ policy choices, improves their ability to serve communities, increases innovation and creativity in problem solving, and advances perceptions of institutional legitimacy”.

Board_of_DirectorsThe report shows that women are underrepresented in senior leadership positions across all sectors in Hamilton and Halton. The EXCLerator Project will continue to collect and analyze data on women in leadership across these communities, with an emphasis on recognizing barriers and then setting goals, devising strategies, and measuring changes in inclusivity over time.

To view the full report, visit www.ywcahamilton.org

 





1 in 3 Canadian Adults Have Experienced Child Abuse: New Study

23 04 2014

child abuse report

 

A just-published, first of  its kind study has found what many in the field have known for some time – child abuse has a lasting impact on many Canadians. This new research confirms the link between serious adult mental health problems and experiences of childhood physical abuse, sexual abuse, and witnessing intimate partner violence.

Findings from the national study highlight the urgent need for a child abuse prevention strategy in Canada. Lead author Tracie Afifi of the University of Manitoba told CBC News that her team’s findings “indicate that 32 per cent of the adult population in Canada has experienced child abuse (i.e., physical abuse, sexual abuse and/or exposure to intimate partner violence) and that child abuse has robust associations with mental conditions”.

The study, published this week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found physical abuse to be most common (26%), followed by sexual abuse (10%) and exposure to intimate partner violence (8%). The authors highlight the need for reporting child abuse as well as understanding treatment implications.

To read the full journal article, visit www.cmaj.ca

 





Neighbourhood and Maternal-Infant Health in Hamilton

3 02 2014

Mother-ChildA few months ago, the team of researchers conducting the Neighbourhood Study of Maternal and Infant Health in Hamilton hosted an invitational meeting to present their findings and to gather input from community members interested in this work. Their research focus looked at whether or not neighbourhood variations could be found in selected maternal-child health indicators. Does it matter if a new mother has lived in particular neighbourhood for a long time? Does neighbourhood play a role in pre-term birth?

The meeting was intended to get people talking about the research findings (including maps showing health indicators, like obstetrical complications, by census tract) and to hear from those who work in these neighbourhoods as well as those whose primary interest is maternal or infant health. It was seen as a starting point for sharing what the researchers learned, and seeing what the community might do to further their work or implement their findings.

 

The meeting was facilitated by Karen Smith. The link to the summary report is here: Neighbourhood Study of Maternal and Infant Health in Hamilton INVITATIONAL MEETING SUMMARY REPORT





Extra baggage…priceless

1 02 2012

I was fortunate to attend the 26th Annual San Diego Conference on Child Maltreatment last week in San Diego, where some 1,500 professionals from 30+ countries gathered to consider the latest developments, research, and practices in the fields related to child maltreatment. It was an overwhelming opportunity to immerse myself in the diverse content and myriad approaches shared by an impressive line-up of presenters. I brought back some excellent ideas and resources, and made some valuable contacts. But the weightiest item in my luggage on the return flight wasn’t a book, a manual, a DVD, or any other tangible item. It was the insight I gained from one particular speaker, and it is more precious to me than anything else I learned or experienced during the entire conference.

Pam Toohey

This would probably be a good place to insert a “spoiler alert” to protect those who might be lucky enough to be in a future audience being addressed by Pam Toohey. But I won’t spoil anything. It wouldn’t be right. The impact of sitting in that audience, hearing Pam speak, and taking away her powerful message is just too valuable to risk diminishing it for anyone else. Suffice it to say that Pam found a way to share “lived experience” in a way that was both unique and inspiring. I have never experienced anything quite like it before. More than the story she told, it was the way she told it and also the ways she chose to deliver it to an audience of “in the know” professionals. Their reactions, like my own, are a tribute to Pam’s amazing contribution to the conference… spontaneous, thunderous, on-your-feet applause. I have no doubt that most of them left with the same indelible messages Pam left with me.

I had the honour of telling Pam, in person, how much I appreciated her presentation. I joked with her that any excess baggage fees I might have to pay on my flight home would be due to the incredible gift she had given me, and that I would happily pay them in exchange for coming away with such an inspiring message. Pam laughed at that, then blushed when I told her that her presentation alone had made the conference for me. In the midst of the clinical trials, the stats and outcomes, the new approaches, and the policy discussions, Pam had painted the whole experience with a very personal, very provocative brush. It coloured my entire conference experience for the better, and it will stay with me in my work and in my life for a long time to come.

Thank you Pam. I’m asking the right questions now.





“The Cruelty Crisis”

14 08 2011

Dr. Brené Brown

Here’s an interesting and thought-provoking take on bullying from Dr. Brené Brown (Professor and researcher, University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work). She draws our attention not to the kids we typically associate with schoolyard trauma or to the teens whose angst can have devastating results, but to our own (adult) behaviours and our society’s tolerance of cruelty. Recommended reading.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ordinary-courage/201010/the-cruelty-crisis-bullying-isnt-school-problem-its-national-pastime





Latest Briefing from Child Abuse Council

11 05 2011

Regular readers know that the Community Child Abuse Council releases periodic issues of its Leadership Briefing to inform and engage the public. Karen has been authoring these briefings since their inception. The latest release is now available on the Council’s web site (http://www.childabusecouncil.on.ca/) or here: Leadership Briefing Spring 2011