Since our launch in October 2012, we’ve been working diligently to achieve our mission to support and conduct research that betters our understanding of child sexual abuse. This work has culminated in new grants, research projects and media opportunities in 2015. Below are some highlights.
Last January we were awarded a grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to study the commercial sexual exploitation of children. In May we were awarded a grant from a private, advised donor fund to study the bias in judicial outcomes for youth who have sexually offended. In September we were included on a grant awarded to our colleague Dr. Debra Furr-Holden from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study alcohol policies that prevent and reduce youth violence exposure, and most recently we received funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation to support our evaluation of the collateral consequences of juvenile sex offender policies.
New Research Projects
Last October we launched a research project that will help us determine what strategies could help prevent adolescents with an unwanted attraction to young children from engaging in abusive behaviors. Help Wanted, a project that was featured in Luke Malone’s groundbreaking This American Life podcast, has helped raise awareness of this little-known and poorly understood population, a group that if targeted with effective preventive strategies early in their adolescence, could help avert many cases of child sexual abuse.
Last year we increased our media coverage and reached the public through a variety of news sources, including local news stations, public radio interviews and national and international publications. Highlighted news stories include a podcast forFreakonomics on the disproportionate costs that sex offenders and the public pays for their incarceration, an Upworthy article about the treatment program Project Dunkelfeld and our research, and a cover story for Psychology Today about the treatment of sex offenders and how harm could be prevented with a better understanding of what behaviors leads to abuse.
Since it’s inception, our Center has been supported by a Scientific Advisory Board, comprised of experts in child maltreatment, violence prevention and child sexual abuse prevention policy and practice. We are grateful for members’ time and talent. This year, we will invite additional members with expertise on the framing of child sexual abuse and related concepts to join our board. Additionally, we plan to move our annual Scientific Advisory Board meeting to the fall.
We will host our fourth annual symposium, Child Sexual Abuse: A Public Health Perspective, on April 21, 2016. We are excited to announce that Jennifer Bleyer, writer and editor at Psychology Today, who wrote the cover story we were featured in and who has been covering child sexual abuse prevention extensively, will be presenting a recap of her story, “Sympathy for the Deviant,” and moderating our panel. Registration for this event will open later this month.
Thank you for your continued support and best wishes for a happy and healthy new year.