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When Vulnerability Meets Power: Protecting Children During Conflicts and Humanitarian Disasters Symposium

Monday 16th October 2017 at BPS Offices, Tabernacle Street, London

There are now twice as many natural disasters as there were 20 years ago. Last year alone, almost 100 million people, including more than 50 million children were caught up in disasters such as earthquakes and flooding. On top of that, conflicts are lasting longer than ever before. And even when they stop, they're more likely to recur. In these situations, children are particularly vulnerable, not only from the disaster itself but also from the increased incidence of physical, emotional and sexual abuse or exploitation.

This symposium brings together humanitarians, psychologists, criminologists and child safeguarding specialists to explore the nature and causes of abuse to children during emergencies, and to show how those entrusted with protecting children can turn into abusers. The symposia will also look for solutions in terms of the systems, procedures and support required to ensure that children can be kept safe.

The day has been organised to provide opportunities for the participants to engage with the topic and to grapple with the issues involved in safeguarding vulnerable children during conflicts and natural disasters.

Who is the day intended for?

The symposia will be of interest to anyone with an interest in protecting the wellbeing of children. The day will cover issues of importance to forensic, social, clinical, counselling, organisational and trauma psychologists.

Symposium Speakers

Celine Bardet Celine is the Founder and President of the newly created NGO "We Are Not Weapons of War" dedicated to work on sexual violence in conflict.

Nicola Gale President of the British Psychological Society

Charu Lata Hogg Charu is the Director of the All Survivors Project, a Visiting Michael D. Palm Fellow, UCLA School of Law; Associate Fellow, Chatham House.

Gareth Owen Gareth Owen is the Humanitarian Director of Save the Children UK. He has led responses to emergencies all over the world. Today, he leads a team of 190+ humanitarian professionals. He was awarded the OBE for services to Emergency Crisis Response Abroad in 2013.

Steve Reeves Steve is Director of Child Safeguarding at Save the Children. He and his team work to ensure that children are free from exploitation and abuse by creating an environment in which children are respected and safe.

Kate Richardson Kate is a senior officer and manager with the National Crime Agency. Kate is a qualified social worker with experience in child protection across social work, law enforcement and international humanitarian aid.

Dr Noreen Tehrani Noreen provides psychological screening, support and trauma therapy for humanitarians working throughout the world. She has undertaken research into the factors that can increase resilience to stress, burnout, compassion fatigue and trauma in humanitarians.

Prof Rachel Tribe Rachel is a chartered organizational and chartered counselling psychologist who has experience of working in the private, public, charity and academic sectors. She has worked with a variety of humanitarian organizations in five continents.

Dilanthi Weerasinghe Dilanthi is a registered educational and child psychologist who works with families, teachers and community groups to support children with disabilities and additional educational needs in London, Sri Lanka and East Africa. She has previously held senior leadership roles in the public sector in London and overseas.

Prof Richard Wortley Richard is Director of the Jill Dando Institute for Security and Crime Science, and the Head of the Department of Security and Crime Science. His research looks at the role environments play in antisocial behavior.

Please note, this event is now fully booked. To be added to the wait list, please complete the booking form and a member of the team will be in touch if a place becomes available.

If you have any queries please contact us via the event hotline on 01332 224506.


Monday 16th October 2017

Please note this is a draft agenda and is subject to change. The full symposium programme can be downloaded below.

09:00Arrival and registration
09:30Gareth Owen: Children in Conflict - Humanitarian Challenge
10:15Charu Lata Hogg: Hidden victims: the vulnerability of boys to sexual abuse and exploitation in humanitarian contexts
11:00Celine Bardet: Sexual violence as a weapon of war
11:30Prof Richard Wortley: Do disasters create abusers?
12:00Review of Morning
12:15Lunch and Exhibition
13:30Kate Richardson: Severe child abuse and neglect in institutions - drivers and impacts
14:00Prof Rachel Tribe: Strengthening ethical practice in disasters
14:45Dr Noreen Tehrani: Situational or personal factors: what is the evidence?
15:15Steve Reeves: Children in Conflict- The Safeguarding Challenge
16:00Nicola Gale: President of British Psychological Society
16:30Event close


BPS Offices, Tabernacle Street, London

The British Psychological Society, 30 Tabernacle Street, London, EC2A 4UE

Additional Information

Click here to download further information.

PDFBPS Booking Terms and Conditions
PDFSymposium Programme