Japanese university launches program to cultivate abuse-response experts

A university in Yamanashi Prefecture, west of Tokyo, has set up a graduate program designed to foster experts capable of addressing child abuse and other welfare issues.

Yamanashi Prefectural University launched the course on human welfare in the current academic year, which began this month.

About 30 people, including new students, attended the opening ceremony on Wednesday.

University President Hayakawa Masayuki encouraged the students to apply what they learn in the program to benefit society, noting that some of them are already working in the field.

The curriculum is aimed at helping its students to deepen their knowledge and acquire practical skills of caring for abuse victims and supporting families at risk of abuse.

Lectures will be given by doctors specializing in mental healthcare, experts researching the psychology of abused children and other professionals.

University officials say the graduate program is the first of its kind in the country.

One student in her 30s, currently employed as a medical social worker, said she wants to learn how to collaborate with child consultation centers and municipal authorities.