Global Collaboration of Traumatic Stress Societies

Global Collaboration

ESTSS joins Global Collaboration on a very moving topic.
„Child Abuse and Neglect: A Global Problem in Need of a Global Solution”
It is an issue of major public health importance that requires a global solution

In October 2012, during the ISTSS conference in Los Angeles, representatives from societies for traumatic stress studies – covering  five continents – came together with the goal of forming a global collaboration. The group agreed to work collaboratively by focusing on one global issue: child abuse and neglect, and its latent impact.
ESTSS was representated by Dean Ajdukovic (University of Zagreb and past president of ESTSS) and Brigitte Lueger-Schuster (University of Vienna, president of ESTSS).

Some European countries were shocked by reports from survivors of institutional abuse within the Catholic Church, cases of abused children related to war atrocities were known during the 90ies of the last century and spectacular reports on probaly organized abuse shocked Europe.
But child abuse is also a hidden issue and child abuse and neglect is a global public health problem that requires a global solution. The WHO estimates that annually more than 40 million children are victims of child abuse. Child abuse and neglect has adverse consequences for the victims, for their offspring and the society at large. Sexual abuse prevalence rates as high as 21% for men and 56% for women were found in the Netherlands. In Switzerland a recent report estimates that 40% of girls and 11% of boys had been sexually abused. In countries with social instability rates are estimated to be higher. In Austria a study an institutional abuse with now adult survivors reported 50% PTSD prevalence. The impact of childhood abuse and neglect range from poorer cognitive functioning to mental disorders and a higher risk for suicide.

The Collaboration chose child abuse and neglect based on the following criteria:

  • Inconsistent dissemination and implementation of evidence based practices
  • Inconsistent integration of helping agencies
  • Lack of political prioritization
  • Pressure to find new delivery methods
  • Need for community resilience and empowerment
  • Need for cultural sensitivity and customization

The goals of the collaboration are to collect and synthesize core guidelines for prevention and treatment shaped for specific cultural contexts. The collaboration aims to disseminate these guidelines using an application that will allow for worldwide distribution and cultural customization. The collaboration will develop a proposal to secure funding for the guidelines and the application. The timeline for their activities is tight, aiming to define the scope of the guidelines and the application prototype until the next meeting in Bologna (June 4, 2013), hosted by the European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.

Many of you are doing work in the area of child abuse and neglect. As ESTSS president, I would like to encourage all members of our society to contribute and share your ideas with me as I will forward them into the project panel.