FJC Europe Funded by the EU FJC Europe

European Alliance
for Hope and

We are the European Network of multidisciplinary approach
of genderbased, domestic violence and child abuse and
Family Justice Centers

15-17 MARCH 2023, Provincial Government Building, Antwerp, Belgium

Report 5th International Family Justice Center Conference


The 5th International Family Justice Center Conference was organized by the European Family Justice Center Alliance, the Province of Antwerp, the City of Antwerp with support, the FJC Antwerp and funding of the EU.

The first day

The first day of the conference focused on Child to Parent Violence. Child-to-parent violence is a subset of domestic violence that is often ignored or misidentified. It includes aggression, violence, or coercion perpetrated by minor or adult child toward parent(s). Stigma and shame can lead to not seeking help and/or persisting dynamics in the family relations. Parents often attempt to ignore, placate, or surrender to the violent behavior. Du- ring the conference-day, those dynamics were explored and how to react and offer help in a multidisciplinary setting was discussed.

The second day

The second day targeted Trauma and Hope. Victims of gender-based violence and domestic violence often are severely impacted by trauma. Hope is the actual pathway to resilience, to surviving and healing from trauma, and the best predictor of outcomes focused on well-being and quality of life. Hope is measurable, teachable, and cultivable. The speakers and workshops brought their insight, knowledge and tools how to work on Hope with adults and children who experienced violence in their relationships and homes.


The two days of conference were followed by the masterclass “Responding to trauma and adversity: Hope as a framework for action” by Chan Hellman, at De Stroming in Antwerp. Hope has emerged as one of the top protective factors leading to well-being across the life span. During the masterclass, the science of Hope as a psychological strength in our ability to cope with traumatic experiences was discussed. A summary over 15 years of research shows that (1) hope predicts positive outcomes for staff and those being served, (2) hope buffers the effects of adversity, and (3) hope can be influenced and sustained.

Network meeting

On the 15th of March the FJC of Antwerp organized a network meeting and visit at the brand-new location of the FJC. Time to explore, share, exchange, get to know together an build friendhips.

190 participants of 13 countries attended the conference and/or masterclass (160 live, 30 online). There were about 100 participants registered on each conference day, 65 persons at the masterclass and 80 for the network-meeting.



Report of the activities

15th of March

Opening Bert Groen and Pascale Franck, executive directors of the EFJCA, opened the conference.

Welcome by Luk Lemmens, Deputy Province of Antwerp

Alessandra Pauncz
Work with young perpetrators by Alessandra Pauncz, director of the European Network for Work with Perpetrators

Yana Demeyere
What is child-to-parent violence and abuse? Recognising the complexity of the problem and its implications for policy and practice by Yana Demeyere, PHD researcher at the VUB, University of Brussels, on child to parent violence

Dan Dulberger
From systemic learned helplessness to communal presence: the lessons from Non-Violent Resistance (NVR) Interventions by Prof. Dan Dulberger, internationally acknowledged instructor and innovator in the Non-Violent Resistance therapy approach and the NVR interventions

Willem Beckers
Understanding the development of child-to-parent violence through the interplay between the ‘parent-child relationship’ and the ‘family-environment relationship’ by Willem Beckers, systemic psychotherapist at Interactie-Academie, specialist in domestic violence, particularly child-to-parent violence

Declan Coogan
Ending Fear and Finding Fun in Families after Child to Parent Violence and Abuse by Dr Declan Coogan, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, University of Galway (Ireland)

Network meeting at the Family Justice Center of Antwerp

16th of March

Starting up by Bert Groen and Pascale Franck, executive directors of the EFJCA, opened the conference.

The importance of Hope by Tom Meeuws, Alderman responsible for social affairs, City of Antwerp

Katja Lenzing
The European perspective on gender-based violence and domestic violence by Katja Lenzing, Deputy Head of Unit at the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers, Gender Equality Unit

From the prosecutor’s perspective by Franky De Keyzer, prosecutor of Antwerp

Mieke Gielen
Project TaRMak: strengthening children and young people who come into contact with domestic violence on restoring Hope through circus techniques by Mieke Gielen, Ell Circo D’ell Fuego

Josefine Grände
Despair, dignity and hope: finding the roots of resilience through the three languages of traumatization by Josefine Grände, licensed psychotherapist specialised in crisis and trauma, Prolonged Exposure (trauma-focused cbt) and affect-focused therapy (AEDP)

Chan Hellman
The Psychology of Hope: Hope Centered and Trauma Informed by Prof. Chan Hellman, Hope Research Center (USA)

Anna Defossez and Melissa De Roose
ECHO, Resonance for survivors of child abuse Echo by Anna Defossez, Coordinator of Echo, Survivor and practitioner and Melissa De Roose, Cooperator at Echo, survivor of the peer support group Echo (Belgium), VECK (Flemish Expertise Center on Child Abuse)

17th of March

Masterclass 'Responding to trauma and adversity: Hope as a framework for action' By Prof. Chan Hellman, Professor of Social Work at the University of Oklahoma and Director of The Hope Research Center.

Photo-impression of the events