Expert at International Conference on Child Abuse Says ‘90 Percent’ of Child Maltreatment Could Be Prevented

Haruv USA Inaugural Summit took place April 24-26 at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa

April 27, 2017

  • Tulsa
  • Israel


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TULSA, Okla., April 26 – More than 400 regional and international experts wrapped up a summit today on child abuse and neglect. The Haruv USA Inaugural Summit on Child Abuse and Neglect: Fostering Hope in our Children focused on promising policy practices and evidence-based interventions for preventing child maltreatment and improving child welfare worldwide.

Co-sponsored by Haruv USA and OU-Tulsa, the conference brought together social workers, therapists, educators, legal and medical professionals, police and others who work with abused, neglected and at-risk children and families. Following the conference, Haruv USA announced a call for papers on new methods for addressing and preventing child maltreatment, which will be presented at the Haruv International Conference in Israel, December 7-8, 2017.

“Child abuse and neglect occurs in all sectors of society and has a destructive impact on growth and development,” said Prof. Asher Ben-Arieh, Director of the Haruv Institute. “This Summit was designed to bring together top researchers, professionals and students who are committed to developing new models and partnerships that will create a paradigm shift in how we address the global scourge of child maltreatment.”

Among the array of global experts who presented at the Haruv USA Summit were: Neal Halfon, founding director of the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities; Gary Melton, associate director for community development and social policy at the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect at the University of Colorado, Denver; David Olds, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado, Denver; Desmond Runyon, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado and executive director of the Kempe Center; and David Wolfe, a psychologist and author specializing in issues affecting children and youth, and former professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Toronto.

“I believe that 90 percent of child abuse and neglect cases are preventable,” said David Wolfe, who is also the former Editor-in-Chief of Child Abuse & Neglect, the leading journal in the field. “With sufficient resources devoted to identifying and treating abuse, as well as to addressing the systems that often contribute to it, we can protect children, support families and strengthen communities. The work Haruv USA is doing with research and training is critical to creating a network of highly trained professionals equipped to address all aspects of abuse and neglect.”

According to the World Health Organization, every fourth child worldwide is a victim of child abuse. In the United States alone, “Child Maltreatment 2014” reported 3.6 million child abuse cases annually, involving approximately 6.6 million children.

Participants in the Haruv USA conference also toured the Schusterman Pediatric Social Simulation wing at OU-Tulsa. Based on a similar concept in Israel, the facility features state-of-the-art simulations that train medical and social work students by enabling them to practice life-like circumstances using models or virtual reality. The center features exam rooms, an inpatient intensive care unit, emergency rooms, consultation rooms, a model apartment for in-home care and debriefing rooms. All students at OU School of Community Medicine are required to train in the simulation center.

“The partnership between Haruv and OU-Tulsa began as a way to facilitate knowledge sharing between professionals working on similar issues in Tulsa and Israel. It has grown to now include Haruv USA as part of our Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work and has fundamentally shifted our approach to how we train students and professionals to recognize, assess and treat issues of abuse and neglect,” said Julie Miller-Cribbs, Director of OU’s School of Social Work. “We are proud that our partnership is fostering the development of new programs and interventions that will impact Oklahoma’s families and can be replicated on campuses and in communities across the country.”

Haruv USA is a partnership between the Israel-based Haruv Institute, OU-Tulsa and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. It focuses on comprehensive education and training for students and professionals who work with children from many settings, along with research for the identification, prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect, with an emphasis on underserved children and families.

It is part of the Haruv Institute, Israel's leading training and research center and one of the preeminent institutions worldwide in the field of child abuse and neglect. In January, Haruv opened a Children’s Campus at Hebrew University in Jerusalem that brings together for the first time ever, in one location, a comprehensive array of services for abused and neglected children, including emergency treatment, therapeutic facilities and child advocacy assistance. Haruv hopes to spread this model to the field.

Haruv USA announced that a second summit will take place in Tulsa in April 2018.

For more information on Haruv USA, visit

For more information on the Haruv Institute and its upcoming conference, visit

To learn more about submitting a paper for the Haruv International Conference, email [email protected].

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