Call for 'Big Society' action on violence to children

14 Mar 2011 09:00:00.000
PA 81/11

A major international conference at The University of Nottingham will hear calls for better strategies to fight child abuse and immunity for existing child protection systems against public sector cuts.

The conference, entitled ‘Children as Victims : Prevalence and Protection’, will hear from an expert panel of international speakers commenting on recent studies which have shown that child abuse is much more prevalent in the UK and the rest of the world than previously thought.

A major survey by the UK charity, the NSPCC, last month reported that nearly one in five secondary schoolchildren in the UK have been the victims of violence, sexual abuse or neglect. And surveys of young adults (18-24 years) in the UK have found that one in four suffered some form of abuse or maltreatment during their childhood.

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The event is taking place at the East Midlands Conference Centre, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RJ on Monday 14th March 2011. It has been organised by the University’s Institute of Work, Health and Organisations (IWHO) and the NSPCC and has attracted a large audience of professionals. The findings of the NSPCC surveys and other research will be discussed by a number of experts who have found a similar picture of child victims in the USA, Australia, Japan and Central and Eastern Europe.

Professor of Forensic Psychology and Child Health, Kevin Browne, from IWHO, said: “Our own research here at the University has mirrored the latest NSPCC surveys in that there are likely to be children in every secondary school who have or are suffering physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of their parents and other adults, their peers or other children. Governments have taken steps to improve child protection but health and social services are more likely to fire fight a small proportion of cases than help prevent the causes of violence to all children, or ensure that children at risk receive appropriate intervention in time.”

He added: “The team at The University of Nottingham, in collaboration with Warwickshire Police, are working hard to develop new strategies to prevent bullying and victimisation of children in schools and the community. But, initiatives such as school safety programmes are being threatened by public sector cuts and reduced police budgets in England. We think this goes against the principles of the Prime Minister’s ‘Big Society’ and places children at risk of harm.”

An expert panel will be considering how to intervene and treat children who have suffered as victims and ways to prevent their further victimisation and later mental health problems. Severely abused children are almost nine times more likely to try to kill themselves and almost five times more likely to self-harm than children who have not suffered abuse.

The NSPCC’s Head of Strategy and Development, Jon Brown will chair the presentations and discussions by the international panel of experts including Professor David Finkelhor (USA), and Stephen Smallhouse (Australia), Maria Keller- Hamela (Nobody’s Children Foundation, Poland) and Professor Danya Glaser (International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse).

Members of the media are welcome to attend the conference. Please contact the University’s Media Relations Office on 0115 951 5793.

— Ends —


More information is available from Prof Kevin Browne on +44 (0)115 823 2210  or Emma Rayner, Media Relations Manager, University of Nottingham on +44 (0)115 951 5793,


Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

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More information is available from Prof Kevin Browne on +44 (0)115 823 2210

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