On the occasion of
Friday 17 November 2006
International Conference Centre Geneva CICG, rue de Varembé 17, 1202 Geneva Interpretation English/French
Conference – Debate
“Progress in preventing child abuse – Annual review 5th edition”
Theme : “How to parent well in the modern media age”
Awarding the WWSF Prize for prevention of child abuse*
Two first prizes: Tulir - Centre for the prevention and healing of child sexual abuse (India)
-17h40 Award Ceremony - WWSF Prize for Prevention of Child Abuse*
Presentation by Ms Vidya Reddy, Director and Representative
of the Laureate organization Tulir -
-17h50 Conference - debate
-19h30 Reception & Interviews
Every year, the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse is marked on 19 novembre. Since 2000, WWSF Women’s World Summit Foundation, convener of the Day, organizes an annual conference-debate in Geneva on the theme “Progress in preventing child abuse – Annual review”. In 2006, 19 November fell on a Sunday therefore the annual conference and award ceremony were held two days earlier (Friday 17).
2006 Conference theme:
How to parent well in the modern media age?
Opening remarks by Mrs. Elly Pradervand, WWSF Executive Director
Mrs. Elly Pradervand, WWSF Executive Director, reminded the audience that the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse was launched in 2000, as a response to an article in a Swiss daily newspaper, i.e. that a pedophile network created on 25 April an international day for pedophilia on Internet. “We were deeply distressed by the unacceptable news that we decided to create a World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse. We selected the day of 19 November in synergy with the anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child – 20 November."
Seven years later, more than 700 governmental and non-governmental organizations mark the Day in 119 countries. "Thanks to our network of thousands of organizations working for the dignity and the rights of the child, we are proud to announce the success of the campaign and the importance of our international partnership coalition. We wish to take this opportunity of thanking the CICG for making the conference room available to us and thank our members, as well as our sponsors for their valuable support this year: The OAK Foundation, the Federal Social Insurance Office – Switzerland, the City of Geneva, l’Etat de Vaud and Vivre Autrement."
Mrs. Pradervand mentioned some facts and figures that evoke shudders: 40 million children around the world suffer from abuse and neglect, and require health and social care. Over 1 million children are exploited every year in the multibillion dollar sex industry. And in 138 countries, possession of child pornography is not a crime. "That’s why we decided to participate in the global movement for the creation of a world fit for children”, explained Mrs. Pradervand before adding: “We are not in competition with other child rights organizations. Our objective is to be a rallying call for prevention of child abuse and violence against children. There is room for many different actors concerned with the well-being of children …"
Mrs. Esther van der Velde,
Project Specialist, presented, three days before the official launch in Geneva, the book
of the UN Study on Violence against Children, a very important document with recommendations
for governments and civil society as a whole. Requested by the UN General Assembly and under
the leadership of Prof. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the Study has been a global effort to paint
a detailed picture of the nature, extent and causes of violence against children, and to
propose clear recommendations for action to prevent and respond to it.
The book, containing the full results of the Study, nine regional summaries and an educational package for children and young people are among the tools that will be used to take the Study’s recommendations forward. In all regions, processes have been put in place to continue the Study’s work and to act upon its recommendations.
"While everyone has a role to play in ending violence against children, ultimately the recommendations focus on the need for governments to fulfill their obligation to prevent and eliminate violence against children”, concluded Mrs. van der Velde.
Mrs. Laure Maitrejean Maitrejean reminded the audience that the children’s section
has as of today four programs: the World Day, the WWSF Prize for prevention of child abuse, the yellow
sticker campaign “YES to prevention of Child Abuse!” and the newly created
“International Clearinghouse for Prevention of Child Abuse and Violence against Children."
Launched in 2000 and commemorated every 19 November, the World
Day campaign is an annual rallying call to create a culture of prevention of child
abuse around the world. In order to reach this ambitious goal, WWSF created in 2001
an international coalition of non-governmental and governmental organizations that
commit to support and mark the Day with local and national activities and events.
In 2006, 710 organizations marked the World Day in 119 countries. The number of partner organizations is continually increasing.
Laure Maitrejean reminded that coalition members are published on the global campaign poster of which 10'000
copies are annually sent around the world. On the back of the poster, an Open Letter to coalition members
and partners offers ideas and a call to action.
The World Day leads to the organization of numerous activities and events around the world. “If we had to assess the last seven years, we can say that we have observed a positive development of the type of activities realized. At the beginning, activities were essentially based on participation of children, parents and teachers. Then, organizations progressively tried to raise awareness among experts and local and national authorities: political, judicial, and religious authorities. In 2005 we noticed an important change in the media: many organizations had provided workshops for journalists to help them communicate precisely on child abuse and prevention of violence against children. “Their main concern was to stress children’s and victims’ rights, and no longer so much the sensational”, underlined Laure Maitrejean.
"The Prize was created to address the many requests for financial assistance we receive from coalition members”, explained Laure Maitrejean. For the third year, WWSF awarded the prize to honor four organizations for their innovative and effective prevention activities. Until today, 12 prizes have been given to active coalition partnership member organizations around the world.
In conclusion, Laure Maitrejean presented two examples of activities planned by WWSF partners on the occasion of the World Day 2006: In Pakistan, SEHER organized not 1 but 20 days of activities (30 October to 19 November) and in Lebanon, KAFA launched, in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Affairs, a campaign in the whole country. 35'000 stickers and fliers on child abuse were distributed in the streets, together with a white flower, as a message of peace and non-violence.
In 2006, WWSF received many interesting applications, that made the selection very difficult. For this reason, it was decided to award two first prizes: one to the Indian organization Tulir CPHCSA (Centre for the Prevention and Healing of Child Sexual Abuse), whose Director Mrs. Vidya Reddy had been invited to Geneva to personally receive her prize, and the other one to the Jordan organization Queen Rania Family & Child Center at Jordan River Foundation.
Vidya Reddy President of Tulir CPHCSA, came especially from India to receive her award. She presented to the audience a video explaining the huge work done by her organization on the occasion of the World Day for Prevention of Child abuse in 2005.
In 2005, Tulir CPHCSA organized in Chennai (formerly known as Madras) various public awareness events from 18 to 20 November. To understand the importance of Tulir CPHCSA’s work, it must be repeated that Chennai, capital of the State of Tamil Nadu (South India), is India's fourth largest metropolitan city with an estimated population of 7,6 million people.
Tulir CPHCSA actively collaborated with the media to engage them in the World Day. Two of the most prominent national/regional newspapers from Chennai (The New Indian Express and The Hindu) published articles on child abuse and on the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse.
"Tulir CPHCSA also organized street-plays to help children to keep themselves safe
from child abuse”, underlined Vidya Reddy. Large billboards with the message “World Day for Prevention
of Child Abuse is not November 19th. It's every day” were placed in various strategic sites in the city.
At least 1 million people should have read them. Various advertising agencies were also asked to create
awareness posters on child sexual abuse. More than two-dozen posters were displayed in one of the major
shopping centers of Chennai (8000 visitors).
3000 handouts for children, entitled "Smart ways to keep yourself safe" were distributed in English and in Tamil. And that’s not all : Tulir CPHCSA also arranged for the screening of the movie "Everybody says I'm fine", which is one of the few feature films made in India dealing with child sexual abuse in an informative and sensitive manner. Documentaries on child sexual abuse were also screened.
Internet was not left behind: Tulir CPHCSA sent an e-mail to nearly 4'000 organizations and individuals interested in and working on child rights, informing them of the significance of the World Day and urging them to organize activities. "Following the awareness campaign, the Tulir CPHCSA website received 13'000 visitors in November. A sponsor helped us create this website”, added again Vidya Reddy.
This important and remarkable job certainly deserved an award and Mrs. Vidya Reddy was delighted to receive the first WWSF Prize.
A detailed document summing up the activities organized by the four laureate organizations is available on our website www.woman.ch
Being parents has never been easy, especially since no preliminary qualification is
required. But the incredible development of new technologies certainly make
the situation much more complicated and almost uncontrollable.
Today, many parents feel completely lost facing this issue. And even more since their children are born with these new technologies: Children master Internet and the multimedia with a disconcerting ease.
How to protect children in spite of themselves? What limits should be set? What programs should be authorized, discussed and/or forbidden? What are the real or imaginary dangers of the Internet era? So many questions various experts in child rights and education tried to provide food for thought, in the absence of concrete answers.
Dr. Gérard Salem, Psychiatrist, Family Therapist and University Professor
(Geneva and Paris) immediately formulated the terms of the debate: "When we read in the
newspapers this morning about the collective rape of a 13 year old girl by 13 adolescent
boys in Zurich, we are obviously horrified. But the maltreatment is not limited to this
spectacular news item. There are today more and more problems in Switzerland. Everyday,
young people are exposed to many violent images, characterized by their ability to influence
them and penetrate their mind."
According to Dr. Salem, many families are completely ignorant of the impact of new technologies on their children. Parents cannot really play their role in watching and supervising children as they grow up because most of the time both parents are at work. Protective filters are needed between the social macro system and the family. The problem is real: in Lausanne, 800 families consulted his medical center during a period of 4 years due to maltreatment, including deficient families with emotional and educative neglect problems. Many parents are confused by the lack of guidance.
Dr. Salem also mentioned another important point: contrary to what we believe, 85% of child sexual abuse occurs at home, or within the family circle. So, pedophile networks on the Internet are not the only problem.
Dr. Salem’s intervention puts the situation back in perspective. According to him: “If we are to improve the conditions of children, the conditions of families have to be improved first, supported and protected by the society in which we live.” Concluding, he left the audience with some food for thought: “Do parents still have time for their children? Should they stop working to take care of their families? Do NGOs and associations for children have sufficient impact? Do parents really consider the effect of these problems or do they give themselves good conscience...”
Sylvie Reverdin, Director of Pro Juventute (Geneva), presented the Swiss national
campaign, entitled “Education gives strength”, organized by the Cantonal Family Commission. The campaign
(September 2006 – June 2007) is based on 8 pillars of education, identified as fundamental principles for
a good and harmonious education. These messages include: “Education means to encourage, accept conflict,
help children become autonomous, show feelings, set limits, take time, know how to listen and love them
"In libraries today, there are many books on how to educate children”, underlined Sylvie Reverdin. “It’s a sign that parents need guidance. Actually, the 8 pillars of education give points of reference to parents and to all the actors involved in education of children.”
Each month a public conference (Uni-Dufour) introduces a new theme of the campaign. For more information: www.inforfamilles.ch
Marie-José Lacasa, a specialized psychotherapist on violence and sexual abuse,
for couples and families, is a representative of the School of Parents, an association whose mission
is to listen, inform and orientate parents. With humor and a touch of provocation, she entitled her
intervention “You don’t know anything!”
Marie-José Lacasa agreed with Dr. Salem: New technologies have modified our bench marks and parents feel more and more confused. New technologies provide, there’s no doubt, much more possibilities than before. But they simultaneously strengthen parents’ feelings of not understanding, of not knowing what’s happening. Parents are sometimes less educated than their children with regard to new technologies! “Children and young people know more than us!”
This evolution can have good effects on a teenager, but on a child, it can be destructive. The question is about what limits to set. The example of cellular phones is revealing: some adolescents become so dependent that they permanently need their phones to communicate. They cannot separate themselves from this object because they need to stay in touch with other people...
"How to set limits? What priorities should we be concerned about? When should we be concerned about new technologies?, asked Marie-José Lacasa. "Sometimes, it’s impossible for children to go to school the next day because they have spent the night communicating or attempting to do so with 30 people at the same time ...”
Mrs. Lacasa raised a fundamental issue: at times these new technologies make children think that they are able to do certain things which are more difficult in reality. “This makes them feel stronger”. But this creates a gap between the virtual world, exciting and easy, and real life that needs more effort.
Of course, it’s impossible for parents to control everything their children do: we have to learn to live with risks. But it is also important to set limits, to have a dialogue with young people and to reassure them. “Maybe parents should not put all these new technologies at their disposal and may be not put a computer in their room before the age of 15...”, underlined Mrs. Lacasa.
According to Marie-José Lacasa, we have to understand children’s interest for the virtual world. “We must help them develop a critical sense which represents an effective filter of protection whether one is present or not.” www.ep-ge.ch
Andréa Burgener Woeffray, President of Kinderschutz Switzerland and ECPAT Switzerland
explained that their associations are negotiating contracts with different travel agencies and hotels to
fight sexual child abuse in various destinations that are popular among tourists. She indicated that
Hotelplan and Kuoni have recently signed such a contract with Ecpat Switzerland. “We are trying to
collaborate more closely with associations active in prevention because we have to create networks.
We have done a great job so far, but need to do a lot more.”
“All over the world, we have thought about how we could intervene to prevent abuse of children including pornography on the Internet”, underlined Mrs. Burgener Woeffray. “Parents cannot be left alone with this problem. We have to look forward and collaborate with parents and schools. For example, in Fribourg, we have drawn up a convention “How to use the Internet”, which includes two texts: one for parents and one for children. Both have to sign the contract. I think it’s a very good example on how parents and children can get together and share the same living values. We should also collaborate with Internet providers to block certain websites for the protection of children.”
In conclusion, Mrs. Burgener Woeffray shared her deep conviction that it is to our interest to have a coalition for prevention of child abuse. Her association has just created a network in Switzerland. They are now looking for new partners. www.aspe-suisse.ch
Fighting against child abuse and the danger of Internet and the multimedia is a positive enterprise.
But the best prevention approach consists of integrating certain fundamental values in the education
of children who form the next generation of adults? Values are often neglected in our modern society.
Frances Burkhalter, President of the Swiss Association for Living Values, insisted on this issue and
suggested: “Taking time to reflect on and know what our values are, is a fundamental part of the development
of our personality. And we, as parents, perhaps we don’t do that.”
“Once you have reflected on and know your values which include respect, responsibility, simplicity, tolerance, unity, cooperation, freedom, happiness, honesty, humility, love and peace, then live them! Share them with your child, spend time listening, talking and just being with him/her. Trust yourself, trust your child and trust the process. It might take a long time, but persevere!”, concluded Mrs. Burkahlter.
The association’s program for families and children is now used in 80 different countries. www.livingvalues.net
Another interesting approach is the one of Akouo Association.
Mrs. Monica Saurma, a representative of the association, insisted on a fundamental
element for a harmonious development of the personality: how to develop self-esteem.
“The self-esteem level, the esteem level young people have for themselves, determine
the basis of their relationship with others. Building up self-esteem is a good basis
for everything, even for us.”
Monica Saurma also insisted on the importance of listening: “Listening to the person is a training that can change relationships within families. Mother and father both have to learn to listen to their children. This way of communicating will help them gain confidence in their children and to take care of their own self-esteem.”
Carl Rogers, psychologist and author of the person-centered active listening approach, proposes three fundamental attitudes towards learning how to listen. Once we have established these attitudes, a better understanding between people would be the result: Congruence: I am what I am, I’m not an expert; Unconditional acceptance: I accept the other, I don’t judge him/her. I accept him/her as he/she is. Empathy: I have to listen with my heart. “Real listening can be learned!”, attested Monica Saurma. www.akouo.ch
Last but not least, Me Lorella Bertani, a Lawyer specialized in the defense
of minors, with strong convictions, opted for a powerful intervention with a feminist slant.
“If we were united in an efficient way, we could change society, boycot advertisements that
sell products with the use of women’s photos in all kinds of positions! Some say that being
a feminist is not fashionable anymore. But the violation of women’s honor is intolerable!
We cannot endure this “Porno chic culture” all day long anymore, with sadomasochism as an
approach, seen by children of 3, 4 or 5 years old.”
With regard to cyber-pedophilia, Lorella Bertani underlined that this is really a new danger. But she also asserted: “Men who are in these photos are fathers, those who look at these photos are mostly fathers too, and those who pocket millions with these photos are fathers and mothers...”
“We shouldn’t go into puritanism”, insisted Me Bertani. “Adolescent rapists speak in the same manner as adults: she agreed, she provoked me, she is a b... But today, we are facing a new difficulty since we are witness of cases of abuse between adolescents. Today, young women have gone from the right to orgasm, advocated by feminists, to the duty to orgasm, advocated by the media. Women have to be beautiful, sexy and show their G strings under their trousers!”
As a reference to the tragedy published in the newspapers on 17 November (an adolescent girl of 13, raped by 13 adolescents in Zurich), Me Bertani shouted out: “Young people of 16 or 17 years old should not be treated as victims. They have enough judgment. We should teach the boys to live with their frustration and limits, and exercise respect”, concluded Lorella Bertani. “We are all, parents or not, responsible for all that!”
On the occasion of
Week of activities - Geneva
Saturday 18 November
Information Stand - Place du Molard Geneva
Sunday 19 November
Call to action addressed to Churches
Monday 20 November
Workshop : “Person-centered Active Listening” by Monica Saurma, representative of the Akouo Association - 17h30-19h00
Thuesday 21 November
Workshop : “Mother’s role in the modern media age“ by Claire de Lavernette, representative of the World Movement of Mothers 17h30-19h00
Wednesday 22 November
Workshop : “Montessori School abuse prevention approach“ by Angèle Ortega, Isabelle Wenger and Séverine Paris, teachers - 17h30-19h00
Thursday 23 November
Distribution of WWSF fliers and stickers - FNAC Balexert
On Saturday, a stand was organized in a busy shopping street in Geneva. Our colleague, Valérie Moynat, together with Vidya Reddy, President of the laureate organization of the first prize 2006, shared with passers-by information on the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse - 19 November, and on WWSF prevention programs in general. They also distributed the WWSF yellow stickers “YES to prevention of Child Abuse!”
Because 19 November fell in 2006 on a Sunday, WWSF invited religious leaders and faith-based organizations to mention in their sermons and programs the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse. WWSF also suggested that they organize “Parent committees” in their church communities, encouraging them to work on prevention strategies against abuse and violence aimed at children. Several churches informed WWSF of their participation. (Cf. Annex: letter to the attention of Bishops, Priests and Pastors)
During the week of activities following the conference-debate, WWSF
organized three workshops at its headquarters (11, avenue de la Paix). The themes and
issues addressed, although they presented different approaches, all responded to the
topic of the campaign.
Thanks to the training on “Person-centered Active Listening” Monica Saurma
and Françoise Wicht, representatives of Akouo (“I’m listening” in Greek), stressed the necessity
of furthering better communication between people. Their credo: “Learn to listen”.
Why? What are the obstacles to listening? What favors listening? Many questions are answered by this training. By acquiring a capacity of listening focused on a person and not on a problem, the training enables the person to become active, mobilize their own resources and seek their own solutions
Person-centered active listening is based on the attitudes identified by the American humanist psychologist Carl Rogers, the technique of reformulation and reflection, and on the approach of the personality based on transactional analysis. www.akouo.ch Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
During the workshop “Mother’s role in the modern media age”, Claire de Lavernette, representative of the World Movement of Mothers, insisted on the importance of prevention by education. She stated that the four most dangerous media for a child are Internet, television, cellular phones and radio stations for young people, and explained why and insisted on the importance of transmission of values by parents: values based on respect, authority and sharing. Parents should set limits for their children, transmit a sense of analysis, effort, and above all, teach them how to respect each other at an early age. www.mmmfrance.org Email:email@example.com
Three teachers, Angèle Ortega, Isabelle Wenger and Séverine Paris, presented
the Montessori School child abuse prevention approach
Has the child seen something he should not? Has the child seen something on television? Where does he go when his parents are not at home? So many questions teachers ask themselves before reacting with the golden rule: creating a climate of confidence. Children know they will be able to express themselves freely, they know that they will be heard and considered. The Montessori schools also provide an atmosphere where child abuse can be discussed with the parents. www.montessori-ams.ch Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
The yellow sticker campaign “YES to prevention of child abuse!” was launched in 2005. The four yellow
stickers (in 4 languages) are an illustrative tool for parents, adults and youth to remind them that
child abuse and violence are unacceptable and that values and standards of behavior have to be
respected within families and institutions.
Order your yellow stickers and place them on your door, computer or any visible site as a symbol and reminder of your stand for prevention of child abuse, to treat all children with respect and dignity, and to take care and protect them from abuse and potential offenders.
“No violence against children is justifiable; all violence against children is preventable.
Yet, in contradiction to human rights obligations, children are not fully protected from violence in any
part of the world. In carrying out my activities as Independent Expert I heard from children on how the
routine violence that many of them experience in their homes, schools, institutions and communities can
be harmful to them. Children also testify to the urgent need for a quick response.
The World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse reminds us of the importance of acting now to respond to children’s . Preventing violence is the most effective way to protect children - a radical change is needed to ensure that this priority is fully recognized and translated into action. The different strengths of all those who work for and with children must be combined in order to ensure the sea change we all aim to promote.”
• Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan
• Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
• Dr. Samuel Kobia, General Secretary, World Council of Churches
• The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
• Prof. Jaap Doek, Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
• Prof. Paulo Pinheiro, Independent Expert for the UN Study on violence against children
• Vernor Muñóz Villalobos, UN Special Rapporteur on Education
• Juan Miguel Petit, UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child pornography and child
d’enfants et la pornographie impliquant des enfants
• Conseil d’Etat et administratif de la République et du Canton de Genève in corpore.
Child abuse is an immense problem and a serious violation of children’s rights.
With this letter, the Women’s World Summit Foundation WWSF, a Swiss, non-profit, humanitarian,
and non-denominational Foundation in consultative status with the United Nations, would like
to suggest that you speak out in favour of the dignity of children in your sermon on Sunday
19 November - World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse (established by WWSF in 2000). Our web
site provides all relevant information on the activities of more than 700 organisations in
119 countries, which are committed to marking the World Day this year. www.woman.ch/children
For several years now, child pornography, paedophilia, sexual exploitation and trafficking have been widely increasing thus undermining and damaging the most vulnerable group of our population. The offence caused to children’s innocence by the media, through videos, Internet and mobile phones, has reached proportions never seen before. Many parents in schools are giving up the fight while others, probably the majority, ignore what their children are really exposed to, often even in their own home environment.
We would like to suggest that you organise “Parent Committees” in your church community encouraging them to work out prevention strategies against the abuse and violence aimed at children. Such strategies are key in eliminating such practices. For this reason we ask you to help break the silence concerning the global problem perpetuated by this unacceptable commerce. Sex and pornography are in fact the third largest business worldwide together with illegal drugs and arms sales.
We also invite you to our forthcoming Conference-Debate, 17 November on the topic
Preventing child abuse – WWSF 5th Annual Review - “How to parent in the modern media age”
We thank you in advance for your commitment and participation in creating a culture of child abuse prevention.
Martin Luther King affirmed:
“History will have to recall that the biggest tragedy of our times was not the strident clamour of the wicked ones, but the appalling silence of the right-thinking ones”.
We are at your disposal for any further information you may need, and remain respectfully yours,
Elly Pradervand, WWSF Directrice Exécutive
Laure Maitrejean, Coordinatrice - WWSF Section Enfants
Federal Social Insurance Office, Switzerland
Activities and events organized by international NGO coalition members
I ) 19 NOVEMBER – WORLD DAY FOR PREVENTION OF CHILD ABUSE
II ) WWSF PRIZE FOR PREVENTION OF CHILD ABUSE
III ) YELLOW RIBBON CAMPAIGN “YES to prevention of child abuse!”
IV ) GENEVA ACTIVITY REPORT - 19 NOVEMBER 2006
V ) GLOBAL ACTIVITY REPORT - 19 NOVEMBER 2006