Child abuse will be the topic of a two-day conference being held April 17th and 18th at Missouri Western. Participants will have an opportunity to listen and learn from experts.
The conference is being held in the Fulkerson Center. It is sponsored by the Regional Law Enforcement Academy, Department of Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, Social Work, Department of Nursing and Northwest Missouri Child Advocacy Center.
Breakout sessions will be held in classrooms both days. Everyone must preregister. The forms are available online at wi.missouriwestern.edu/conference.
Kip Wilson, associate professor of CJLS, says that this is their first attempt to put together so many organizations into one learning conference.
“Sandy Hook was a terrible shock, but people forget that weekly approximately that many children get killed,” Wilson stated. “Often by parents who are their caretakers.”
Dr. Gretchen Quenstedt-Moe, assistant professor of Nursing, stresses the value of this conference. Other similar ones charge $300.00. The registration fee for this conference is $80.00. If you are a field instructor or MWSU adjunct instructor, it is $20.00. Students may attend for free. She stresses that everyone must preregister because there is a limit to class size for each session.
“We are thrilled to death to have this opportunity, especially for our pediatric nurses. They will have a better understanding of how the system works,” Quenset-Moe, said. “It’s about taking responsibility in the community.”
It will be particularly interesting to people involved in law enforcement, social services, healthcare and education. Wilson says it is an opportunity for students and professionals to listen to a wide range of speakers who work to prevent child abuse every day and to focus on the tragedy of abuse.
“We have offered a yearly conference to give back or say ‘Thank You’ to the community for everything they do for our students,” Pam Clary, instructor of PSS, said. “This is the first time we are joining many disciplines to host a conference.”
Learning the signs of an abuser is one aspect that can be gained from the conference. One of the 10 presentations on Wednesday will be by Catherine Vannier, Family Violence Resource Prosecutor with the Missouri Office of Prosecution Services. It will cover the signs and symptoms of coercive control and present a link between child abuse, domestic violence and animal abuse. Wilson says an informational video showing signs of abuse can also be viewed at http://atsweb.uthscsa.edu/webdev/Mckee/Anderst/MIC.html.
“The conference will raise the level of awareness for everyone so that we can advocate for our children,” Dr. Mary Jo Gay, assistant professor of Nursing, said. “This conference is interdisciplinary and will be informational and educational to all students.”
Of unique interest to participants will be the special guests, Terry Probyn, Dr. Rebecca Bailey and Jane Dickel, LCSW. They will be conducting a workshop presented by The JAYC Foundation. The foundation was formed by former kidnap victim Jaycee Dugard. Their topic will be on reacquainting law enforcement officers and employees with their culture and mission. This workshop will be the last event of the conference from 1-4pm on Thursday.
“I plan to attend and so do many of my fraternity brothers from Phi Sigma Kappa,” senior criminal justice major Matthew Morris said.
Corporal John Christianson, Highway Patrol Troop H officer and Adjunct Criminal Justice Instructor, says that he has assisted other patrolmen in responding to calls that involved abuse. He keeps a watchful eye during all shifts for signs that indicate a hotline call to DFS is needed to investigate the situation.
“If we save one child, then it is worth it,” Christianson said. “This is a good conference because it pulls from many disciplines and provides a voice for victims that don’t have a voice.”