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08 Sep 2017

Paediatric Child-Protection Network arrives in Naples: raising awareness among Italian doctors to recognise the signs of child abuse and training them


Naples, Friday 8 September 2017 - The “Stop Child Abuse” project is returning to Naples to continue promoting strong preventative action against child abuse. The project, launched by the pharmaceutical company Menarini, has the aim of creating an anti child-abuse network that covers all Italian regions, which will see “trainer” paediatricians ready to pass on their knowledge in Naples to engage 15,000 “look-out” doctors among paediatricians and trainee doctors. Through the support of these formative events and raising awareness among doctors, the project is carried out in collaboration with the Italian Society of Paediatrics (Società Italiana di Pediatria - SIP) and the Italian Federation of Paediatricians (Federazione Italiana Medici Pediatri - FIMP), who have selected the “trainer” paediatricians.

During 2017, many other doctors will participate in the courses which will be held in another 13 Italian cities. The initiative will help to reveal a problem which often remains in the shadows, offering concrete support to young, voiceless victims: only a very small number of child-abuse cases come to light each year, due to fear, ignorance, neglect and inadequacy. The paediatricians and doctors who follow the courses will become a reference point for their colleagues throughout the country, able to give advice and help in managing cases of suspected abuse and ill-treatment.

Each year in Italy, many cases of violence and abuse remain in the dark. Minors are at risk of neglect, ill-treatment, and psychological and physical violence, with statistics identifying around 70-80 thousand children and adolescents who are victims of these painful experiences. In 70% of cases, violence and physical, psychological and sexual abuse occurs at home, and in two out of every three cases a parent is involved. Brought about in collaboration with the Italian Society of Paediatrics (Società Italiana di Pediatria - SIP) and the Italian Federation of Paediatricians (Federazione Italiana Medici Pediatri - FIMP), the anti-abuse network is supported by the multinational Florentine pharmaceutical company with an investment of € 1 million.

“In Campania there are no available data on abuse and ill-treatment rates, but the prevalence of the phenomenon is in line with the rest of the country: the figure given by scientific literature is from the rate of all forms of abuse and ill-treatment of children – around 9-10 cases in every 1,000, of which 10% are cases of sexual abuse” – commented Renato Vitiello, Vice Chairperson of SIP Campania – “Abuse and ill-treatment have serious consequences for the child’s health in the short and long term: an ill-treated and/or abused child, in fact, is at risk not only of physical, psychological and behavioural disorders, but also psychological damage in adult life. This is why FIMP and SIP participate in this project with great professional pride. It is capable of involving all the components of Italian paediatrics in a spirit of mutual and effective collaboration”.

“Here at FIMP, we are very satisfied and proud of the enthusiasm that we encounter in paediatricians as the project moves forward from one event to the next in order to create the network” said Luigi Nigri, head of the project on behalf of the Italian Federation of Paediatricians. “The growing participation of colleagues is confirmation of the gravity of the problem and of the lack of training and organisation there is in our county regarding abuse, violence and ill-treatment. Finally, paediatricians can begin to feel that they are not alone when faced with these painful situations that regard our young patients. We take great satisfaction in making a determined contribution to spreading social awareness, no longer passive but finally actively tackling the problem”.

“Paediatricians in Campania will be even better equipped to safeguard children. Our initiative to create a robust network of trained doctors to prevent the abuse and ill-treatment of children lands in Campania for the second time. Menarini has developed this project, the only one of its kind in the world on this scale, with the aim of contributing to drastically reducing the number of painful stories that nobody wants to read in the papers” – stated Lucia e Alberto Giovanni Aleotti, Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the Menarini Group.

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