Workshop title: Identifying and addressing child sexual abuse cases in the school system
Presenter: Eleni Karayianni, PsyD., Cyprus Psychologists’ Association and Department of Psychology, University of Cyprus
Workshop Description: As a form of violence against children, child sexual abuse is considered of the worst kind with a relatively high incidence reported in countries all over the world. Children affected by sexual abuse do not differ based on socioeconomic background, ethnicity, education, or other social factors. Prevalence rates differ and according to the Council of Europe, between 10 and 20% of children suffer sexual abuse during their childhood. The impact the experience has on the child can be long standing. Despite its severity, it is one form particularly difficult to identify due to several of its characteristics, thus making it even more difficult to deal with effectively, let alone prevent it from happening.
The school is the most important setting to detect and respond to cases due to the significant role it has in a child’s life. In cases of sexual abuse, it happens to be the most common setting wherein disclosures take place. Therefore, professionals working with children within the school system are in a privileged and demanding position in dealing with CSA cases effectively.
The workshop will focus on providing information and enhancing participants’ knowledge around methods of identifying vulnerable children, as well as dealing with the reports according to current best practices and guidelines. Participants will be given the opportunity to develop their knowledge and practice skills via theory presentation, group discussion (smaller and bigger group), vignettes, and group exercises.
- Participants will be familiar with the WHO definition of child sexual abuse, the prevalence and consequences.
- Participants will be able to identify signs of child sexual abuse.
- Participants will be able to differentiate between the roles of school professionals in the prevention and protection of children that are victims of CSA.
- Participants will be able to name and apply ways of addressing a child’s disclosure based on current best practices and guidelines.
- Participants will have a resource list to help with further professional development.
Brief Bio: Dr Eleni Karayianni is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Training Coordinator for the PhD in Clinical Psychology program at the Department of Psychology, University of Cyprus. She is also clinical supervisor for the Children’s House operated by “Hope for Children” CRC Policy Center that deals with child sexual abuse cases in Cyprus. She was member of the Coordinating Committee of the Council of Europe Campaign “1 in 5” battling child sexual abuse in Cyprus (2013 – 2016). She is the scientific editor of the Ministry of Education and Culture’s (2017) “Educators’ Manual for Recognizing and Handling CSA Cases” and “Hope For Children” CRC Policy Center’s (2017) “JudEx+: Towards a child-friendly justice in cases of sexual violence against children.” She is the elected President of the Cyprus Psychologists’ Association (2015 – present). She is also an elected Executive Council Member of the Executive Council of the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations (2015 – present) and she collaborates with the Council of Europe on issues pertaining to children’s rights.