Sidra Medicine Wraps-up the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) Congress Qatar 2020

Attendees participated in a series of workshops and sessions to be able to better identify child abuse and neglect as well as intervene and extend the right form of care

Stakeholders discussed enhanced case management systems to provide a seamless national case management process to ensure children are protected against the various forms of violence and abuse

18 February 2020, Doha, Qatar- Sidra Medicine, a member of Qatar Foundation, wrapped-up the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) Qatar 2020 congress with a focus on child safety, domestic violence and violence against children.

ISPCAN was held in Qatar for the first time, and in alignment with the country’s efforts to advance its child protection efforts and end abuse and violence against children. ISPCAN Qatar 2020 is organized by ISPCAN and Sidra Medicine’s Child Advocacy Program (S-CAP).

The last day of the congress featured opening keynote speech by Dr. Bernard Gerbaka, describing current challenges of corporal punishment in the Arab world and discussing child protection issues in children with disabilities. Other sessions covered the art of interviewing children in suspected child abuse cases; ways to discriminate accidental from non-accidental injuries and the evidence behind the classification of injuries.

The ISPCAN Qatar 2020 congress also featured a community message for Qatar, reaffirming the support and collaboration of key stakeholders from Sidra Medicine and its partners in child protection including stakeholders from the healthcare system, legal and police as well as some players from the Qatar National Football team – highlighting the need to work as a team to stop child abuse. The video can be viewed here: -

Prof. Khalid Al Ansari, Chair of Emergency Medicine and founder of the Child Advocacy Program, Sidra Medicine, said: “The congress was a huge success with over 400 delegates from over 35 different countries coming together for this important cause. The turnout and the participation reflect the commitment of the local and global community to prevent and end Child Abuse and Neglect. I believe a key outcome of this year’s congress is the update on ways to identify cases and intervene in the most appropriate manner.”

“The congress looked at practical solutions to combating child abuse and finding ways to implement these solutions within a family frame, taking into consideration religious and educational settings, psychological support, as well as online safety measures for children,” he added.

The congress sessions were led by pediatricians, social workers, psychologists, lawyers, mental health professionals, governmental policymakers and agencies that work toward the prevention and treatment of child abuse, neglect, and exploitation across the globe.

Other key topics covered at the congress included the role of faith actors in protecting children; online and digital challenges in child safety and electronic-based child sexual abuse prevention and mitigation; and vulnerable and hard to reach youth.

During the closing ceremony, participants issued the congress recommendations for an action plan against Child Abuse and Neglect including the critical role of positive parenting as an alternative to corporal punishment. Corporal punishment is harmful to the child with studies proving a rise in anxiety, psychosocial isolation, depression as well as sleep and eating disorders in children. ISPCAN Qatar 2020 key message was that positive parenting should be based on having realistic expectations and setting consistent rules and responsibilities and that it can be applied through active learning that will result in a high degree of empathy.

Another key take away from the congress, centered on a more cohesive medical care system to support victims and families based on a multidisciplinary team (MDT) concept. The MDT approach also takes into account multi-sectorial support from all agencies including legislation, policy, procedures and practice – keeping in mind that the safety and wellbeing of the child should come first.

Read the Arabic draft here.

ISPCAN is an international non-profit organization that unites a range of stakeholders to discuss various issues such as child protection, ending violence against children, runaway from children's homes, children's post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of ongoing conflict, and local child protection action, among others. The event was attended by representatives from 35 countries.

For more information and registration, please visit:

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