1 To demonstrate the importance of collaboration in the advocacy against child abuse and neglect.
2 To demonstrate the role of child and adolescent psychiatrists in the prevention and treatment of abuse and neglect.
3 To give examples of different ways of successfully raising awareness by child psychiatrists for the prevention and treatment of abuse and neglect.
Childpsychiatrists and the Dutch Knowledge Center advocated against child abuse and neglect through research, a website for patients and professionals, presentations for professionals, and through advocacy at the political and legal arena. The experts gathered all scientific, legal and practical information about prevention, diagnostic procedures, treatment, and the policies on child abuse and neglect, and made this knowledge base available to the general public worldwide as well as to their professional colleagues (www.kenniscentrum-kjp.nl/ ).
Advocacy addressed the following fields which will be discussed in the oral presentation:
• The Dutch Knowledge Center provides unique opportunities for the dissemination of information and the advocacy of child and adolescent psychiatry by engaging a broad network. Examples will be given about the collaboration with Dutch experts, about the opportunities for advocacy, and about the policies the Center uses to bring together the psychiatric professionals.
• The experts increased professional and societal awareness by informing professionals in the legal, administrative and political field about consequences of legal procedures, and made a plea for finances for the prevention and treatment of abuse and neglect, etc.
• The experts presented as a group on national and international psychiatric conferences about relevant topics concerning e.g. the primary prevention of abuse, screening for safety in families, attachment and trauma, etc.
With the influx of a large number of traumatized refugee children in recent years the importance of trauma-focused approach in the organization of mental health care for this specific population was advocated.
Childpsychiatrists can and should proactively advocate against child abuse and neglect using all means possible to reach professionals in politics, ministeries, boroughs and other state-based institutions, insurance companies, schools, youth care and (mental) health care, as well as the wider public.
About the author
Marie-José van Hoof, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D. candidate, is a consulting child and adolescent psychiatrist, specialised in attachment, trauma and child abuse and –neglect on which topics she is finishing her PhD at Curium-LUMC. She is working at her own practice iMindU and at mental health institute YOEP, specialized in mental health service at (international) schools, combining care and schoolissues, empowering teachers and parents in daily life. She also initiated and since chairs the expert group on trauma & childabuse and –neglect of the Dutch Knowledge Centre Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.