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Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse

On May 22, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Federal Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act of 2017. The House’s judiciary subcommittee on crime, terrorism, homeland security and investigations worked to reauthorize the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, the only federal law that requires states, tribes and other jurisdictions to register children who have committed sexual offenses.

By removing one paragraph from Section 111 in the Adam Walsh Act that broadens the definition of “sex offender” to include adjudicated juveniles, our elected leaders could have ended this wasteful and ineffective policy.

On May 3, 2017, the South Carolina State Supreme Court upheld lifetime sex offender registration for behavior committed as a child. The court made this finding despite a decade of scientific research that clearly and consistently points to the failure of juvenile registration policies to improve public safety in any way. That much of this literature was based on data from South Carolina only heightens the distance between this ruling and the countervailing scholarship.

Read the rest of this post at Psychology Today column, Prevention Now.

Dean Klag and Dr. LetourneauOn May 22, 2017, Michael Klag, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health awarded two members from the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse with awards during a ceremony to honor outstanding faculty and students in the Department of Mental Health.

Elizabeth Letourneau, PhD, director of the Moore Center and professor in the Department of Mental Health was presented with the Bloomberg American Health Initiative Excellence in U.S. Public Health Practice award for her work studying the effectiveness of policies intended to prevent child sexual abuse and make communities safer.

Since 2003, Letourneau has conducted a program of research evaluating the intended, unintended and collateral consequences of juvenile sex offender and notification policies. During this time, she and colleagues demonstrated that there have been no reductions in sexual, violent, or nonviolent recidivism rates among youth who have committed sexual offenses.

In fact, there are more harmful consequences associated with these policies than positive outcomes. Mental health providers treating youth who have sexually offended believe these policies are associated with substantial harm, placing youth at increased risk of mental health problems, harassment, school difficulties and living instability. There is also a reduced likelihood of prosecution most likely due to the perceived harshness and unfairness of these policies even in the eyes of prosecutors and judges.

Letourneau wasn’t the only person from the Moore Center who was presented with an award, however. Kenneth Felder, a PhD candidate studying under Letourneau was given the Paul V. Lemkau Scholarship Fund, which is given annually to an outstanding Department of Mental Health student or fellow who has made a significant difference in the community life of the department.

On Thursday, April 27, 2017, during our fifth annual symposium on child sexual abuse prevention, held at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, our keynote speaker, Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, pledged to donate $100,000 to support our Center operations and research.

Patrick McCarthy, President and CEO, Annie E. Casey Foundation

This gift was unexpected and our team was moved by the sentiment that it conveyed – that McCarthy not only believed in our mission, but also felt strongly about investing in the idea that child sexual abuse can be prevented.

“The generosity of individual donors is critical…but we also need public policy makers who are willing to invest public funds in solving this public health problem because that is the scale of investment that we need,” McCarthy said.

We couldn’t agree more that we need both individual donors as well as public funds to address child sexual abuse, and we’re very thankful to have the support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation to help us develop universal, evidence-based prevention programs and reverse policies that cause harm.

Watch McCarthy’s keynote address as well as other speakers from our April symposium.

Register Now!

Childhood Victimization: An Overview of Public Health Efforts (330.647.11)
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
8:30 am to 5 pm
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

This one-day class examines childhood victimization from a public health perspective and familiarizes students with public health strategies used to address three related domains: detection and prevention, treating victims and offender interventions. This class challenges students to critically examine policy and practice using cases such as the Penn State sex abuse scandal. Small group break-out sessions help familiarize students with the public health approach to violence prevention.

This class is open to Johns Hopkins students as well as working professionals. The deadline to register is Monday, May 29 at 11:59 pm.

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iStockAt this year's child sexual abuse symposium on Thursday, April 27 at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Heath, Geoff Kahn, MSPH, Department of Mental Health, will present evidence that forcing children to register as sex offenders does nothing to make communities safer. Read more about this study in our latest Psychology Today column.

Kahn will go over the findings from a six-state study that supports mounting evidence that registering children is costly for states and ineffective. Find out more at our lunch and learn presenation at this year's child sexual abuse prevention symposium. Tickets are going fast!

FREE FILM SCREENING

Don't miss a FREE screening of "Untouchable," a powerful documentary that interweaves portraits of men and women who have been branded sex offenders with the experiences of victims of child sexual abuse. This film will be shown as part of Thursday's symposium. 

Director David Feige joins our panel discussion moderated by Dr. Fred Berlin, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Online registration will close Monday, April 24, 2017 at 5 pm. Onsite registration will be available on a first-come, first serve basis.