Moore Center Research Projects
Our research develops and evaluates primary prevention interventions that will reduce child sexual abuse. Relatedly, we seek to improve our understanding of the costs, causes and consequences of child sexual abuse, as well as the policies that purport to address it.
Youth, Family and School-focused Prevention
- Help Wanted. This project aims to reduce perpetration of sexual violence by developing a web-based prevention intervention for adolescents sexually attracted to children that will also include additional resources for families and practitioners. “Help Wanted” is a collaborative effort with the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) and was featured in Luke Malone’s award winning radio story “Help Wanted” on This American Life and adapted for Matter magazine.
- Parent ProPS (Parents Promoting Positive Sexual Development). This parent-focused intervention will promote healthy sexual development of children and reduce the prevalence of child sexual abuse by teaching parents how to talk to their children about responsible behavior with others. This research is a collaborative effort with Dr. Tamar Mendelson, associate professor, Department of Mental Health, JHSPH.
- Responsible Behavior with Younger Children (RBYC). This universal prevention program will educate middle-school children about rules and boundaries with young children and encourage conversations between these youth and their parents in an effort to reduce perpetration and to increase bystander involvement. This research is a collaborative effort with Dr. Cindy Schaeffer, associate professor, University of Maryland, and Dr. Catherine Bradshaw, professor and associate dean for research and faculty development, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia.
Cost, Causes and Consequences of Child Sexual Abuse
- Child Sexual Abuse Cost Study. This project aims to estimate the US economic impact of child sexual abuse, the first study to comprehensively do so. This cost study analysis is critical for drawing attention to the anemic child sexual abuse prevention efforts characterizing US efforts to date. This project is in collaboration with James A. Mercy, PhD, Derek S. Brown, PhD, and Xiangming Fang, PhD
- Collateral Consequences of Juvenile Sex Offender Registration and Notification: Promoting Research-Informed Policy and Practice. This study is a national survey assessing the degree to which Sex Offender Registration and Notification (SORN) requirements adversely affect youths’ mental health, victimization, school experiences and social relationships.
- Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: A Multistate Evaluation of Safe Harbor Laws. This study examines the effects of “Safe Harbor” legislation that aims to decriminalize juvenile prostitution and instead focus on these children as victims rather than as prostitutes or offenders.
- Juvenile Registration and Notification Policy Effects: A Multistate Evaluation Project. This study evaluates the effects of sex offender registration and notification policies applied to juveniles who have sexually offended using data from Maryland, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas.
- Development and Validation of an Actuarial Risk Assessment Tool for Juvenile Sex Offenders. This study includes the development and testing of an actuarial risk assessment tool designed to identify both risk and protective factors relevant to the changing risk posed by youth who have sexually offended.
- Alcohol Policies to Prevent Youth Violence Exposure. This study aims to address gaps in knowledge regarding the effects of alcohol outlet density and availability and structural interventions, namely alcohol policies designed to decrease density and restrict access to alcohol, on youth violence.
- Examining Bias in Judicial Outcomes for Youth Who Have Sexuall Offended. This study explores whether youth who sexually offend against victims of the same sex are punished differently than youth who sexually offend against victims of the opposite sex and whether relationship status moderates these effects.
- This study will leverage multidisciplinary approaches to develop, test and disseminate effective communication strategies to shape public understanding of child sexual abuse as a preventable public health issue. The study goal represents a key first step toward initiating a public health approach to prevention of child sexual abuse.
Projects in Development
- Risk Reduction Therapy with Adolescents: a family-based intervention designed to address substance use and risky sexual behaviors
- Analysis of the Danish registry data to identify risk and promotive factors associated with perpetration of child sexual abuse
- An environmental scan of federal resources aimed at child sexual abuse (with Daniel Webster)
- Development of an algorithm to prioritize Internet-crimes-against-children (ICAC) cases towards those most likely to involve current, live victims (with Drs. Gregg Dwyer and Michael Seto)
- Convening a consortium of experts on domestic child sex trafficking (with Dr. Judith Bass)
- Secondary data analysis of a longitudinal research study to identify risk and protective factors associated with perpetration of sexual abuse (with Drs. Nicholas Ialongo, William Eaton, and Cindy Schaeffer)