AC hosts regional Child Abuse Prevention Conference

March 28, 2012

By DAVID LEWIS | Ranger Reporter


The criminal justice programs are hosting the 12th annual Child Abuse Prevention Conference today to raise awareness of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

“We are very excited about this conference,” said Pinkie Porcher, chairwoman of Child Abuse Advocates.

“We want awareness of child abuse kept out there to remind people that it’s a huge problem.”

Dr. James Garbarino, a psychologist and co-author of Parents Under Siege, will be the keynote speaker at the conference.

He has studied the topic of child abuse for more than 30 years and has authored and edited more than 20 books on the subject.

His speech will focus on the impact of trauma and past hardships in the life of young males.

Garbarino said in an email he wants to inform people of the gravity of the impact child abuse has on lives.

“Bringing light to this dark subject is my mission,” he said.

Porcher said that when looking for a speaker for the conference, the needs of the community were analyzed.

“Dr. Garbarino knows his stuff,” Porcher said.

Garbarino said he was inspired to study the issue of child abuse as he

learned about violence in war zones and American communities.

“I visited war zones around the world and began interviewing teens and young adults incarcerated for murder,” Garbarino said in an email.

He said his visits and interviews resulted in his 1999 book, Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and What We Can Do About It.

“I hope the attendees will understand that inside most violent men is an untreated, traumatized child,” Garbarino said.

He said he often works for the defense in death penalty cases and tries to help the judges and juries understand this point when making their decision if a murderer should receive the death penalty.

Eric Wallace, AC coordinator of intervention programs, said the Child Abuse Prevention Conferences are important because they teach the importance of awareness of the topic.

“It’s sad we offer topics like this, but we want it out there to continue to help people understand more the problems with these kids being abused in the community,” Wallace said.

Porcher said one of the main purposes of the conference is to provide information to those who work with children to help prevent child abuse.

“We want to continue to refresh their memories on this topic, and we want them to take Dr. Garbarino’s experience and share it with others and to apply it in their respective professions,” Porcher said.

The conference will be from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the West Campus Lecture Hall. Wallace said tickets are sold out.

“Everybody wants to go, and we feel that’s a good thing,” he said. “It’s an important message.”

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