State College, Centre County—This fall, Penn State will convene some of the nation’s top experts in child sexual abuse and child trauma research, prevention, and treatment for a public forum on this nationwide problem. The Child Sexual Abuse Conference: Traumatic Impact, Prevention, and Intervention will take place at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel on October 29th and 30th.
The university says the two-day conference will feature discussions with Sugar Ray Leonard and Elizabeth Smart, both of whom suffered sexual abuse as children. Leonard, an American boxing icon and Olympic gold medalist, will deliver a keynote address and participate in a Q&A with attendees, while Smart will serve as the conference’s closing speaker. The event will also include nationally recognized experts in the field of child sexual abuse and child trauma from across academia, including:
University of New Hampshire;
· Dr. Penelope Trickett, David Lawrence Stein/Violet Goldberg Sachs Professor of Mental Health in the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California; and
· Lucy Berliner, director of the Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress; clinical associate professor at the University of Washington School of Social Work and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
Registration for the conference is open to the general public at http://protectchildren.psu.edu/.
“More than nine percent of children were victims of sexual abuse in 2010, according to the latest national survey, and this doesn’t take into account severe under-reporting of this crime. Research shows that child sexual abuse affects children of all ages, both genders, and all ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. No group of children is exempt. Nonetheless, it remains an issue that the nation finds difficult to talk about,” said Kate Staley, a researcher at the Penn State Justice Center for Research, a co-organizer of the event. “This conference will bring together compelling speakers who are experts in child sexual abuse and child trauma and who know how to translate their knowledge for the general public. We believe this event will raise awareness of this national problem and teach all of us how to better protect our children.”