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Protect Children joins 2PS: Prevent & Protect Through Support kick-off meeting in Warsaw


Protect Children joins the multidisciplinary consortium and project of 20 European partners, including law enforcement, NGOs and research institutions, all dedicated to preventing child sexual exploitation and abuse. The start for the 3-year EU-funded project: '2PS: Prevent & Protect Through Support' is a response to the alarming growth of reports of child sexual exploitation and abuse globally, aiming to prevent susceptible and probable offenders from committing crimes and victimising children, in order to stop the harms before they occur.

On 12-13 October 2022, Protect Children's Executive Director, Nina Vaaranen-Valkonen joined the project's kick-off meeting in Warsaw, Poland. On behalf of our entire team, she was honored to meet the top experts of the strong 2PS consortium, focusing on strengthening offender based preventive measures all over the Europe. From Finland the consortium members are the Ministry of Interior and Protect Children.

The kick-off meeting was the first face to face event since a long time and Nina was finally able to meet all the top experts working in the field, with whom PC have been collaborating online for the last 2 years. The 2PS consortium has a remarkable group of specialists and Nina was thrilled to meet so many old friends. Amongst the participants was also the leader of the project Steven Ormston, Project Manager & Communication Team Lead for Polish Platform for Homeland Security. Nina was able to send greetings from all the PC specialists, who have greatly appreciated Steven's work leading and organising the writing process for the 2PS funding application. Nina also thanked Steven for the well-organized kick-off meeting.

Nina was also delighted to see her dear friend Katarzyna Staciwa after a long time of online collaboration. Katarzyna is working as Independent Expert at National Research Institute/, Poland and she is also one of the leaders for the 2PS project, Polish Platform for Homeland Security. PC team met Katarzyna first time at the conference organized by the Academy of European Law in October, Tallin 2021, and we are all very happy to continue our collaboration. Our specialists have also been strongly supported by Professor Elizabeth Letourneau, Director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Washington, who together with Michael Seto has given valuable support for the the ReDirection project in data collection as well as for the academic research.

Nina also met some old friends in Warsaw, including Katarina Görts Öberg, PhD, Clinical psychologist and Head of unit for Preventell and ANOVA, Centre for Andrology & Sexual Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital, Sweden. Katarina was one of the top experts with whom Nina collaborated already in 2015 and it was a great reunion after many years. Another top clinical expert and researcher Katerina Klapilova, Head of Laboratory of Evolutionary Sexuology, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), has been collaborating with PC and has also shared her expertise and support for PC team for our work in offender-based prevention. Nina also met Isabel Schilg, LL.B. who works for the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine, with whom she had had interesting discussions already at the WeProtect Global Alliance Summit 2022. It was great to continue discussions related to ReDirection data, especially plans to analyze the German language data.

Protect children team collaborates actively with LEAs including EUROPOL, Interpol as well as with the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation CSE-team, and Nina was thrilled to start collaborating with new experts from the Police Scotland. Nina admired their strong work in preventing online child sexual abuse and exploitation and the video “Grooming a child is a crime, online or in the real world” #GetHelpOrGetCaught were shown at the kick-off meeting.

The 2PS kick-off meeting showed once more the importance of face-to-face meetings where experts are able to share their knowledge as well as get to know each other's work in the field. In person, the communication is smoother and face-to-face discussions over coffee breaks and dinner give many opportunities to innovate and develop new ideas to protect children from sexual violence.


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