A national conference presented by the American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Bar Association (ABA) will address the pressing issue of violence involving individuals, families and society at large.
The conference, titled Confronting Family and Community Violence: The Intersection of Law and Psychology, will be held May 1 to 3, 2014, in Washington, D.C. The scheduled keynote speakers are clinical psychologist Robert D. Macy, founder of the International Trauma Center in Boston, and Robert L. Listenbee Jr., administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention at the U.S. Department of Justice.
The conference will include more than three dozen panel discussions and sessions addressing topics such as gun violence, intimate partner violence, violence against women with disabilities, the impact of mental illness and substance abuse, alternatives to school suspension and the impact of racial disparities in how society approaches violence.
The APA and ABA say the event is designed to appeal to a wide spectrum of providers in the medical, legal, educational and social services fields. Continuing education credits will be available for psychologists and lawyers.
According to the Justice Department, more than 60% of children have been exposed to abuse, crime or violence. As part of his keynote speech, Listenbee is expected to discuss the federal agency’s Defending Childhood Initiative, which seeks to examine how direct and indirect exposure to violence can hinder the emotional and mental growth of young people. In particular, children who are exposed to violence are more likely to engage in violence and crime.
The initiative’s 13-member task force, co-chaired by Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Torre, has issued a series of recommendations to help protect the nation’s youngsters from witnessing or experiencing violence. Among the proposals:
“We are facing one of the most significant challenges to the future of America’s children that we have ever known,” the task force noted. “We must actively engage youth, families, and communities in the development of local solutions to these problems.”
The Confronting Family and Community Violence conference will conclude with a networking session to allow attendees to exchange information and ideas. For more information about the conference, visit the American Psychological Association’s website, www.apa.org.