The 2023 ISPCAN Congress in Edinburgh Sept 23-27, 2023 will be held under the theme Advancements in Data and Solutions for Tackling Child Abuse.

Within the last decade, we have seen large advancements in child protection research, response and prevention – from an increase in our understanding of the prevalence of child abuse and neglect through national and multi-country population-based survey efforts to increased multi-sectoral responses and prevention efforts. We are also witnessing a generation of rapid technological changes, and child protection systems need to respond accordingly. We need data approaches that reflect the opportunities and challenges of our new hyper-digital world and ensure we safeguard children.

But we have a duty to do more – especially with the data that the child protection sector itself holds, which can be used and shared for the benefit of all children. High-value data held by law enforcement can help us understand offender trajectories, case management data from social services can help us further understand risk factors, child helpline data can help us understand child protection concerns from children’s perspectives. All of these data sources provide additional insights often not captured in traditional survey techniques – they tell us about violence affecting younger children, children from different population groups not normally included in research and give us data trends over time.

This congress theme will engage in the latest scientific and practice advancements. We know better use of data and practice-based learning will drive investment in the sector, shape better use of public services for safeguarding, as well as drive more insights for targeted prevention. We have an obligation to realise this ambition because children can’t wait.

We are confident that the content and sharing at this Congress will provide participants with sound lessons as well as networking opportunities that will connect you to child protection experts and learning from around the world.

We look forward to welcoming you to Edinburgh in September!


Maryam Ehsani, CEO
Maryam Ehsani, CEOScientific Co-chair, ISPCAN2023 Edinburgh
CEO of Child Safe ME
ISPCAN Board of Directors
Prof. Deborah Fry, MPH, PhD
Prof. Deborah Fry, MPH, PhDScientific Co-Chair, ISPCAN2023 Edinburgh
Chair of International Child Protection Research
University of Edinburgh
Data Director, Childlight – Global Child Safety Institute

Congress Themes

Understanding the prevalence and nature of child abuse: how it is changing, new trends, and post COVID-19 Fallout

Learning on definitions, typologies and improving data quality for measuring all forms of child abuse and neglect

Advancements in evidence-based measurement of the magnitude of child abuse and neglect including the various sub-types (trafficking, child on child abuse, sexual extortion, bullying, etc)

Administrative data insights into the scale and nature of child abuse and neglect (from health, social services, schools, police, criminal justice, etc)

Social determinants, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), polyvictimisation, and drivers of child abuse and neglect

The toxic trio and parenting: substance misuse, mental health and domestic violence

The impact of COVID-19 on child abuse and neglect including the protection and safeguarding of children during the pandemic

Innovation and practice


Advancements in law enforcement and legal systems for responding to and preventing child abuse and neglect

Approaches to handling big data on cybercrimes (including innovative AI and machine learning approaches)

Linked data approaches between administrative datasets and multiple child protection system actors

Joint investigative interviewing, justice for children, and other child-friendly approaches

Enforcement and implementation of law, cycles of violence, youth justice, and child on child violence

Research and practice highlighting the online-offline continuum of CSEA and other forms of child abuse and neglect

Evidence on the prevalence, nature, and drivers of online (including on social media) harms against children (e.g., child sexual abuse material, inappropriate use of images of children in the media, cyberbullying and trafficking among others)

Safeguarding and innovative practices and policies

Recognition of risks and prevention in safeguarding children, especially vulnerable children (neglected, children with disabilities, and young adults)

Systems of care: Collaborative working models and promising practice



Collaborative approaches to child protection to reduce child trauma and improve outcomes for children and families

Evaluation and practice examples of collaborative agency working models, including trauma informed care, for responding to and preventing the continuum of online and offline harms to children

Examples of research to practice and practice to research models for building better capabilities, systems, and data partnerships and accountability

CPS system outcomes for children and families (what is working, innovation and solutions)

Using data to drive policy and change in CPS systems and government investments in family, school and mental health programs

Effective Collaboration in systemic Response, practice and prevention efforts



Programs and Practice that Work for Preventing and responding to child abuse and neglect across sectors

Best practice case studies on preventing and responding to child abuse and neglect in (health, education, faith communities, social services, law enforcement, legal, criminal justice, etc)

Learning in child helplines/hotlines development

Integration in child protection systems, schools and parenting programs,

Improving Institutions for children (sports, child care, out of home care, and learning environments)

Advancements in medical and mental health programs for children and families, perpetrators, and programs

Reducing vicarious trauma of front line CAN professionals


Abstract Submission Period: Feb. 1- March 31

Abstract Review: April 1-April 30

Author Notification: May 1

Registration Required by: May 30

Program Finalized: June 15


1. Typically abstracts are a summary of your project and they should be 500 words or less. Symposia have a higher word count of 1000 words or less (details in the format section below.   We use a platform called EXORDO to manage the submissions.  Please note that you will need to create an account in this platform, where the program will ultimately be built and where you will also register for the congress AFTER the acceptance process.

Please note that you can return to the Exordo system to edit your work until you “Submit”. Data or methods for both research and practice must be shared. Key takeaways for the audience must be included.  Ultimately, we want attendees of the congress need to understand how to apply the learnings or practice in their own work.

2. Required elements for RESEARCH geared abstracts:
• Objectives
• Method
• Results
• Conclusions
• List of 3-4 recommendations or takeaway points for the audience

3. Required Elements for PRACTICE based abstracts:
• Background/context
• Program goals
• Program activities/services & program evaluation data (if available)
• Strengths and challenges (include any child or family outcomes/impact data)
• Next steps

4. Abstracts are to be submitted in English only.

5. When submitting your abstract, please select one Corresponding Author who will assume responsibility for receiving and complying with requirements. The Corresponding Author is responsible for ensuring that the presenting author (s)  register, follow our requested information, conform to deadlines and are able to coordinate one author to present the work, if accepted.

6. All accepted abstracts require a minimum of one author to complete registration and provide payment in full by the deadline in order to confirm inclusion in the Congress program.


Authors indicate their preferred presentation format. Based on scores, the Scientific Committee will make the final determination regarding the presentation format of accepted abstracts.

Poster Presentation (2-3 mins): A display area will be provided and authors will be able to talk about their work during two scheduled breaks over the 3 days. It is expected that the author will be present at the poster location during the specified presentation time(s) to discuss the contents with the conference participants. Top 3 posters will be awarded at the end of the Congress. Poster guidelines here

Oral Presentation (15 minutes): The time allocated for each oral presentation is 15 minutes, with 5 minutes reserved for each author in the session for audience discussion and questions.

Workshop (45 minutes): A workshop is a session involving interactive learning and the building of new skills. Abstracts intended for workshops should include skill based learning objectives and describe how interactive learning will be incorporated.

Multimedia Presentation (45 minutes): The author provides an overview of the multimedia presentation, and theme to be discussed by the session participants and facilitates the discussion all during a one hour session. The overview and theme for discussion are required in the abstract submission.

Symposium (90 minutes): A symposium is a topical presentation with 4-5 papers that address a common theme. Each symposia require a minimum attendance of 4 Presenting Authors, who must register and pay in full to be included in the Congress program by the deadline. Each symposium requires a Corresponding Author to act as session chair/convener and who is responsible for All symposium submissions MUST be submitted in one single abstract which cannot exceed 1000 words (please do not submit separate abstracts for the 4-5 papers that will all be part of the symposia. We are asking for the one overarching abstract only). All author information must be submitted with this abstract and structured as follows: (1) Title of the Symposium, (2) Overarching abstract, (3) Abstract presentation + Name of presenters for all 4-5 speakers/papers, and the (4) main take away points

Master Classes (2 hours): Proposed classes must have instructor CV, clear learning objectives, an overview of 2-hour master class, and level of course along with handouts, references, and an interactive/ question & answer period(s). Upload all materials to be reviewed. Please make sure this is complete or they will not be considered.


In order to ensure the highest scientific standards, ISPCAN employs a double blind review of all abstracts. A double blind review utilizes two different reviewers to independently score each abstract without access to the author’s name, country or any other details. Abstracts are scored on four categories:

  1. Technical merit (Data supported methodology)*
  2. Innovation or advancement in the field of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention*
  3. Readability (ability to clearly explain the logic and process for research or practice)
  4. Three key learning objectives and/or practical implications for the information shared. For workshops submissions, please also describe interactive learning activities.

Scores are weighted more heavily in the categories indicated with an star*. Abstracts are selected based on their final score.

Submit Abstracts