Returning from Huntsville’s 28th National Symposium on Child Abuse

Today is Thursday, March 22, 2012, the last day of the 3-day conference. As usual, it was packed to the brim with excellent speakers, exhibits, participants, and an atmosphere of professional respect.

Lori Brown and I co-presented two 3-hour seminars: The first on Forensic Interviewing of children with disabilities and the second the First Responder’s Skills when arriving on the scene to a child abuse call. Both sessions went very well, but I felt we had much more material to present than time to do it in!

Yet, we were able to engage in some very important discussions at both presentations, show Lori’s DVD’s of forensic interviews she has recently completed (with the proper confidentiality agreements signed by the participants), show a segment of the DVD’s produced by the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) for law enforcement, child protective services and prosecutors on the topics, as well as guide the training using the power point presentations.

The audiences were relatively small…but passionate. We did engage in some discussion that the importance of the topic is great, but recognition of it importance even here at this conference, is not reflected in large audiences. There were several rooms filled with several hundred people, and ours was about 40 for the presentation on Forensic Interviewing and 15 for First Responders. However, this compares favorably to 20 years ago when there were consistently about 5-10. Interest has doubled!

Much thanks to Marilyn Grundy, who is also a Consultant on this Disability and Abuse Project, for always inviting me to share my knowledge and information at this conference. I must say that co-presenting with Lori Brown was fantastic, as she is a law enforcement officer as well as a trained Forensic Interviewer and a trainer for the Finding Words curriculum in Georgia and nationally. She is so knowledgeable, and easy to work with, and makes a huge difference in the richness of the presentation.

Most of those present at the seminars signed up to join the Listserv, and were excited about all of the project activities including the newsfeed, but mostly the ability to stay in touch with one another as well as all of the experts and expertise among our Listserv members.

I encourage you to visit the website for the conference, to take a look at the workshops that were presented, and plan to attend next year.