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Viola – together for better child protection

NMO:

bvmd – Germany

General Description:

Every week in Germany, an estimate of two kids die of the consequences of child abuse.
In 2015 the German police recorded 12 900 cases of child abuse, although the World Health Organisation presumes a dark figure of 1 million affected children in Germany.
This topic took a long time to become public in Germany, the first child protection group was founded in the late 90s, 40 years later than in the USA.
Although nowadays there a several groups trying to tackle these issues, we still lack the broad awareness of the severity of the situation, especially in the education of health professionals. This is where our project Viola comes into play.

The Vision

Viola is a young project with great plans and big dreams. The development progress consists of gaining more public attention and establishing local committees in every German faculty of medicine. Furthermore, Viola aims for a better integration of these issues in the medical curriculum and continuous training for health professionals and organisations working in similar terms of content. In a few years, every German medical students and doctor should be aware of child abuse and know how to react when facing it. The icing of the cake would be to establish Viola across national boundaries and make it an international topic of discussion.
So spread the word and let us stand up together to fight acts of violence against children!

The Mission

Founded in 2016, this project focuses on several specific issues in the fight against child abuse.
Educating (future) health professionals in detection of possible cases of abuse
Training on communication skills for better handling of sensitive situations
Raising awareness of the grievances in the broad public
Interprofessional exchange and cooperation of different organisation working on this topic.

The Methods

The structure of the project is based on local committees coordinated by a National Project Leader. They have various options to reach the aforesaid goals.
Speaking at medical congresses in order to raise awareness
Organising public events or campaigns (World Children’s Day)
Facilitating panel discussions, book or film launches and field trips to counselling centres or youth welfare offices
Delivering workshops for (medical) students and health professionals to educate them and give them the necessary skills to deal with this sensitive topic

Those workshops are the core of Viola and provide enough time to reach profound education for all participants. The combination of frontal teaching, small working groups and open discussions ensures an adequate skills training and is the base of good quality. By recruiting new members during such workshops, the project achieves sustainability. Peer-to-Peer Teaching as method of choice is very important.
Main focus of all events is accuracy, actuality and sensibility with the topic.

Because when we care for the health of our children, we care for our future!

Objectives:

The project tries to approach the problem from different angles and focuses on several specific issues to fight child abuse.
– Raising awareness of these grievances in the broad public
Viola draws attention to the current circumstances of child abuse in Germany. The project aims to stimulate the public as well as the political discussion on this important social issue through events aimed towards the media. Currently a number of five local committees are active working on this issue, but other local committees like Bochum, Erlangen and Heidelberg are already interested in the project Viola and will participate within the next month. More and more local committees will be reached through the presentations during NGAs, conventions, congresses etc.
– Educating (future) health professionals in detection of possible cases of abuse
As the first student initiative about child abuse in Germany, the project Viola offers a good contact point with this topic during studies at medical school. Participants will learn risk factors for child maltreatment, how injuries of maltreatment can be detected and how they can differ them from accidental injuries. Preventional methods are also included in these workshops.The project also wants to offer continuous training for health professionals and organisations working in similar terms of content. Local Viola committees will organise at least a minimum of two events/workshops each year in order to educate approximately 50-100 people of health care professionals in every city with a medical faculty. Through the multiplier effect, a huge number of students can be reached by these workshops.
– Training on communication skills
Viola aims to strengthen communication skills of medical students. Since conversation will be an important part in work life later, the project will offer sessions to prepare students for difficult interviews with parents and children. The project aims to achieve better handling of sensitive situations to initiate a good cooperation between the family and the medical care centre.
– Promoting the interprofessional cooperation between all active organizations for child protection
The project wants to promote and improve cooperation between various organizations, that work for child protection issues. An important pillar of the project work is to establish contact between the youth welfare service, the child protection association, medical associations and other groups, who fight for children’s rights. Viola wants to promote an exchange between these organizations to implement an interprofessional cooperation so everybody – foremost the children – can benefit from a strong and educated workforce.
– Including Child maltreatment into curricula of the German medical education
For Viola, it is of high importance to get the students in touch with these issues as soon as possible and to create awareness in their future as medical professionals.Since physicians are often the first to see the physical and also mental impact of maltreatment, they need to be sensitized for this topic and trained in how to recognize, talk about and most importantly be able to prevent child abuse at the first signs.

In a few years, every German medical student and doctor should be aware of this issue and know how to react when facing it. This goal will be reached with this long term plan in around ten years.
The dream would be to establish Viola across national boundaries and make it an international topic of discussion. Possible are Presentations during the Rex Crossley Award and Activities Fair, cooperation and exchange with other NMOs, finding international sponsors or hosting international events.
So spread the word and let us stand up together to fight acts of violence against children!

 

Time Frame

1 April 2017

Partners and Funding:

The partners of the project are
– DGfPI (German Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect)
– DGKiM (German Medical Society of Child Abuse and Neglect)
– BVKJ (Association of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine)
– Sponsoring by apo-Bank and Deutsche Ärzte Finanz
The cooperation includes material and moral support, advice for future events as well as procuring contacts. There are concrete plans to extend the sponsoring in future and to work out a good collaboration with organisations like the police, the youth welfare office, the German Child Protection League and the Health Department.

 

Contact

Christina von Kietzell

chvonkietzell@aol.com

 

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