Master Class

Sunday, August 28th

The purpose of the Master Class program is to provide an opportunity to spend a day with leaders in the field of child abuse and neglect, to hear their extensive and seasoned experience on a spectrum of topical areas, to gain knowledge that will improve practice for clinicians and to assist in formulating and implementing best practices.  The format of this Master Class allows for an opportunity to interact with the presenters in a formal and informal manner enriching the day’s experience. This class is a 6-hour event that takes place on Sunday before the opening ceremony and includes lunch.

Final Program* Subject to change


(In relation to UN sustainable development goal 16/2)

09:00-09:15: Welcome remarks

Figen Sahin MD and Adam Tomison PhD, ISPCAN Executive Council

9:15-10:00: The Effect of Early Adversity on Brain Development, Learning, and Health

Nicole Sherren, PhD, Scientific Director & Program Officer, Palix Foundation, Canada

BIO: Dr. Nicole Sherren is the Scientific Director of the Palix Foundation and a Program Officer with the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative. She has a PhD in Neuroscience from Carleton University and moved to Alberta in 2003 to hold an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research/Neuroscience Canada research fellowship at the University of Lethbridge. Her area of expertise includes experience-based brain development, neurodevelopmental disorders, and brain plasticity. Nicole joined the Palix Foundation in 2007 to focus on mobilizing scientific knowledge about the brain into public policy and clinical practice. She is particularly interested in creating innovative solutions for complex social problems and strategies to incent individual and organizational change. She lends her expertise to a number of working committees and community projects across Alberta and also serves as a board member for Calgary Alpha House Society.

10:00-10:45: Positive parenting

Joan van Niekerk, BSocSc Hons, MMedSc, President ISPCAN Executive Council

Joan van Niekerk is a qualified and registered Social Worker. She completed a B Social Science Honours and a M Medical Science in Medical and Psychiatric Social Work, and has extensive work experience in the practice, teaching and training in social work and inter-sector child protection practice, both within South Africa and internationally. Mrs van Niekerk has led and participated in law reform processes in South Africa after the country’s signing and ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child necessitated domestic law reform to ensure compliance with this national commitment to uphold children’s rights. She continues to work as a consultant on child protection in Sub-Saharan Africa and chairs a South African Law Reform Project Committee on law and policy reform relating to Child Pornography

Rajeev Seth, MD, DNBE, FIAP, DABP, FAAP, Indian Child Abuse, Neglect & Child Labor Group, India

Dr Rajeev Seth is the current Chairperson of the Indian Child Abuse, Neglect & Child Labour (ICANCL) group. Dr Seth obtained his medical pediatric training at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, India and at the University of California San Francisco, with a post doctoral fellowship at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, California USA.  For the past 14 years, Dr Seth has been working as a volunteer to provide medical care and rehabilitation services to orphan and vulnerable children in India.   Dr Seth is Fellow of Indian Academy of Pediatrics & American Academy of Pediatrics; Member, Section of International Child Health, American Academy of Pediatrics, besides the Founder-Trustee, Bal Umang Drishya Sanstha (BUDS), a registered non-profit NGO.

10:45-11:15  Networking Break

11:15-12:00: Empowering communities to protect babies and young children – Dilemmas and advantages

Desmond Runyan, MD, DrPH, FAAP, Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect, , University of Colorado, USA

Dr. Desmond Runyan is the Executive Director of the Kempe Center at the Children’s Hospital of Colorado and Professor of Pediatrics. He is also National Program Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program based at University of North Carolina.  He is board certified in pediatrics and in preventive medicine. Runyan has researched child abuse for over 30 years while maintaining a clinical practice evaluating possible child abuse victims and as a general pediatrics attending at UNC. Runyan’s research has addressed the identification and consequences of child abuse and neglect. In 1989 he designed and secured funding for the longest multi-site prospective study of the consequences of child abuse; LONGSCAN has continued for more than 20 years. Professor Runyan helped design and conduct the only US study examining the incidence of “shaken baby syndrome.” With funding from the Centers for Disease Control, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the Duke Endowment, Runyan is directing a trial of shaken baby prevention with 600,000 families. He has also worked with ISPCAN, WHO, and UNICEF to study of child abuse epidemiology. In collaboration 120 other scientists from 40 countries, he helped develop a new set of instruments to measure child abuse and neglect.

Sue Foley, B.Soc.Stud, MA, MSW, MEd, Consultant Social Worker, Director,  NSW Children’s Court Clinic, The Sydney Children’s Hospital Network, Australia

Sue Foley is a Social worker and educator, who has worked in the areas of child protection, family violence and trauma intervention since 1973. An ISPCAN member since 1985, and Councillor since 2010. I love travel, movies, my family and making work fun!  My values are social justice, respect and enhancing capacity and competence wherever possible!

12:00-13:00  Lunch Break

13:00-13:45: Child sexual abuse prevention & education: Best practices, children’s voices and future directions.

Leslie M. Tutty, PhD, Professor Emerita,, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary, Canada

Dr. Leslie Tutty is a professor emerita with the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary where she taught courses in clinical social work methods and research.  Over the past 30 years, her research focused on policies, prevention programs and services for intimate partner violence and child abuse including evaluations of shelters and support groups for abused women, treatment for adult and child victims of sexual abuse and groups for men who abuse their partners.

13:45-14:30: Prevention of bullying at school

Lucia C.A. Williams, PhD, Department of Psychology, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Brazil, Laprev – The Laboratory for Violence Analysis & Prevention

Lucia C.A. Williams is Full Professor at the Department of Psychology, Universidade Federal de São Carlos – UFSCar (Federal University of São Carlos), in Brazil, where she founded LAPREV (The Laboratory for Violence Analysis and Prevention), which does research, education and community outreach efforts in addressing and preventing family and school violence. She has been a visiting Professor in Two Universitites in Argentina and she is Fellow of Sidney Sussex College at Cambridge University, UK. She has recently been elected for the ISPCAN Council.

14:30-15:00 Networking Break

15:00-15:45 Online Child Sexual Exploitation – Learning from the Past, Preparing for the Future

Roberta Sinclair, Ph.D., Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children/Behavioural Science Branch, Manager – Program Research and Development

Roberta participated in the development of the Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children/Behavioural Science Branch, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and is involved in many law enforcement-focused initiatives. The Centre is composed of several national programs including the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre, the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains, and Behavioural Sciences.  Dr. Sinclair manages the Program Research and Development unit of the Centre which engages in operationally-relevant research that supports the investigational mandates in these national program areas. Roberta is also an adjunct professor in the Sociology and Anthropology department and the Institute for Criminology and Criminal Justice at Carleton University. Roberta has presented her research at various conferences, workshops and law enforcement training sessions nationally and internationally, and has participated on several crime and youth, and violence against women panels. Dr. Sinclair also received a Queens Jubilee Medal for outstanding work in the area of Internet-facilitated child sexual exploitation.

15:45-16:30: Adolescent dating violence, health and resilience outcomes: Promoting well-being and violence prevention.

Christine Wekerle, Ph.D., Department of Pediatrics, McMaster University, Canada

Dr. Christine Wekerle has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, with a specialization in children and families, and has been active in the research field in the child abuse and neglect, adolescent dating violence and prevention, and adolescent health field over the past decades. She is the current Editor-in-Chief of ISPCAN’s official journal, Child Abuse & Neglect, and is leading a research team on the issue of sexual violence against male youth and its health and resilience impacts. This current resilience work can be located at She is active in developing an arts- and case-based approach to educating and engaging in child maltreatment at the trainee and community levels. She can be reached at: and on Twitter @DrWekerle.

16:30-16:45: Closing remarks