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Protecting children during conflicts and humanitarian disasters

16 October 2017

A symposium being held in London today brings together humanitarians, psychologists, criminologists and child safeguarding specialists to explore the nature and causes of the abuse of children during emergencies.

Organised by the British Psychological Society’s Crisis, Disaster and Trauma Psychology Section, ‘When vulnerability meets power: protecting children during conflicts and humanitarian disasters’ will also explore how those entrusted with protecting children can turn into abusers.

The symposium will look for solutions in terms of the systems, procedures and support required to ensure that children can be kept safe.

Speakers will include Nicola Gale, the President of the British Psychological Society, and Dr Noreen Tehrani, Chair of the Crisis, Disaster and Trauma Psychology Section.

For a full programme and list of speakers see the event’s webpage.

Noreen Tehrani said:

“Our symposium has been organised to provide opportunities for the participants to engage with the topic and to grapple with the issues involved in safeguarding vulnerable children during conflicts and natural disasters.

There are now twice as many natural disasters as there were 20 years ago. Last year alone, almost 100 million people, including more than 50 million children were caught up in disasters such as earthquakes and flooding. On top of that, conflicts are lasting longer than ever before. And even when they stop, they're more likely to recur.

In these situations, children are particularly vulnerable, not only from the disaster itself but also from the increased incidence of physical, emotional and sexual abuse or exploitation.”

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