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ACCAN 2015 conference to examine child abuse prevention & intervention

Media release

24 March 2015

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Multi-agency and cross-cultural challenges around child protection will be explored at the 14th Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect in Auckland from 29 March. The conference is led by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), with New Zealand’s Ministry of Social Development (MSD) as the primary sponsor in 2015.

More than 500 government and non-government practitioners, social workers, doctors, police, lawyers and researchers who deal with identifying and counteracting child abuse, and protecting vulnerable children will attend the four day conference, to be opened on Sunday by the Governor-General of New Zealand, His Excellency, Lt Gen the Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae.

“This conference is all about children and young people. It is about how we work together to ensure their safety and wellbeing. Delegates from many different agencies and countries will come together to share their best ideas about improving policy, practice and research and how collectively we can tackle the problem of child abuse and neglect together,” said MSD Chief Social Worker Mr Paul Nixon.

“The event will explore new practices and thinking, drawing on the knowledge, skills and leadership of Māori, Pacific and Australian Aboriginal people and other cultures, about how we best protect children and young people and promote better outcomes for them.”
ACCAN is generally a biennial event - this is the second to be held in New Zealand, the last was held in 2006.

AIC Director Dr Adam Tomison said: “Every couple of years, ACCAN provides a great opportunity for the child protection community to meet and discuss all aspects of this challenge.

“We are delighted with the response to ACCAN 2015, especially from so many New Zealand child protection organisations and workers. Their contribution will add greatly to discussions around practice and solutions during the conference.”  

The major international conference features seven keynote presentations, three expert panels, 20 workshops and symposia ranging across legal, paediatric and social welfare and support issues, along with 115 papers.

Three international speakers will address the conference:

  • Justice Peter McClellan, the Chair of the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse;
  • Dr Desmond Runyan, the Jack and Viki Thompson Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Colorado and Executive Director of The Kempe Centre for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect (US); and 
  • Professor Kate Morris, Director, Centre for Social Work, University of Nottingham UK.

Speakers from the New Zealand community include:

  • Moana Eruera & Dr Leland A Ruwhiu (NZ), Principal Advisors Māori, Child, Youth and Family
  • Dr Teuila Percival, Consultant Paediatrician, KidzFirst Children's Hospital & Karanina Sumeo, Principal Pacific Advisor, Child, Youth and Family  
  • Dr Russell Wills, Children's Commissioner, New Zealand
Dr Patrick Kelly, University of Auckland and Clinical Director of Te Puaruruhau & Nicola Atwool, Associate Professor, University of Otago

For information:
New Zealand Ministry of Social Development: Media Enquiries: 04 916 3496 or
Australian Institute of Criminology: Colin Campbell +61 2 62609244 / +61 (0) 418 159 525
Details at:                                                                              


While ACCAN2015 will explore and discuss child protection and care across a number of cultures and settings, the Māori concept of Tiaki, in this context inferring Tiaki Mokopuna, has been chosen as a core philosophy and symbol for this conference.

Tiaki Mokopuna is a cultural principle that asserts the collective roles, responsibilities and obligations to care for, make safe, protect and support our children and young people within healthy families.

Related links

14th Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect

29 March to 1 April 2015, Auckland, New Zealand

This conference is a unique opportunity to engage researchers, policy makers, practitioners and others from New Zealand, Australia and internationally.

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