Missouri Western continues its fight to prevent child abuse


Everyday, five children in the United States will die from abuse. Missouri Western is continuing its five-year battle to end child abuse by educating the public and students in an affordable way. The Child Abuse: Education, Prevention and Investigation conference is free to students with a $10 lunch option meant to encourage networking among professionals and students. Non-students pay $45 and will be given six Continuing Education Credits for attending. The conference will be held April 19-20 in Spratt and Fulkerson Center.

Dr. Pam Clary, the Bachelor of Social Work program director, assistant professor and one of the members of the Child Abuse Conference Committee, said that the purpose of this conference is to educate the public on the signs of abuse.

“Even if you’re not going into the healthcare profession, this is good information,” Clary said. “There’s just tons of different stuff. We’re looking at sexual abuse, we’re talking about child abuse, we’re talking about self care — anything that leads into that. Domestic violence, there’s a fine line. If you’re a child experiencing your mom or dad getting beat up, is that not emotional abuse? We know 50-60 percent of children in domestic violence homes are also physically abused. Because they try to intervene and prevent it, they are being abused.”

Clary went on to describe what other concepts the conference will cover.

“Issues such as human trafficking, dynamics of child abduction cases, education regarding child victims of trauma and field safety [and] how to protect yourself as you are going out on cases regarding child abuse will be discussed over the course of two days,” Clary said.

Kip Wilson, associate professor of criminal justice and social work and director of the Law Enforcement Academy, believes that not just law enforcement, education, nursing and social work students should attend the conference.

“I think anyone with kids [should attend] — anyone in education, people that are going to be in any type of medical field, law enforcement, juvenile social work. Anyone that has any contact with kids,” Wilson said. “We need to train people so that they can better recognize child abuse, how to deal with it, how to investigate it, and hopefully prevent it.”

The keynote speaker, Matt Bennett, will be discussing how trauma affects almost every profession. Among the 15 speakers at the conference are a handful of Missouri Western professors, such as Dr. Dan Shepard, assistant professor of education; Dr. Gregory Vicchi, associate professor of Criminal Justice; and Suzanne Kissock, associate professor and program director of the Approved Legal Studies Program.

All of the departments who sponsored the conference have been with the event since the very beginning. These departments include the Regional Law Enforcement Academy, the Western Institute, Department of Criminal Justice Legal Studies, Department of Social Work, the School of Nursing and Health Professions, The Department of Education as well as the Northwest Children’s Advocacy Center.