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Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse

Date: Dec 2016

If you missed Dr. Letourneau’s TEDMED talk, below is a recap from the Huffington Post.

TEDMED Recap

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We Believe in Prevention

Child sexual abuse is preventable, not inevitable. For the last four years, our team at the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse has worked tirelessly towards our mission to support and conduct research that betters our understanding of child sexual abuse prevention. In the last year, we’ve made critical inroads in furthering the science of prevention and advancing the public health approach as the best and most effective strategy to ensure that our children aren’t harmed by sexual abuse. Below are some highlights from the year.

Collateral Consequences of Juvenile Sex Offender Registration and Notification

This innovative study, a national survey to assess the degree to which Sex Offender Registration and Notification requirements negatively impact youth, is near completion and the results so far are troubling. We’re in the process of examining the data and writing our findings, and we believe the results of this study will help impact national policy and bolster the argument that children should not be subjected to the same sex offender and notification policies as adults. We’ve already had success in making this argument to the public in numerous articles and op-ed pieces throughout the year.

In March, author Sarah Stillman featured our center’s research in the New Yorker. In “The List” she quotes Josh Gravens, who was arrested and placed on a public registry before becoming a leading figure in the movement to remove kids from the registry. He counseled hundreds of children on the registry and says their experiences are much like his own and don’t improve with time: “Homelessness; getting fired from jobs; taking jobs below minimum wage, with predatory employers; not being able to provide for your kids; losing your kids; relationship problems; deep inner problems connecting with people; deep depression and hopelessness; this fear of your own name; the terror of being Googled.” Stillman’s piece strongly articulates the point that placement on the registry can feel like a lifetime sentence.

Center’s Work Highlighted at TEDMED

We continue our work on developing and evaluating a prevention intervention for adolescents with an unwanted attraction to young children. This year we received a $50,000 grant from Raliance, a collaborative initiative dedicated to ending sexual violence in one generation, to develop an online intervention for adolescents with a sexual interest in children. Our “Help Wanted” program aims to help teens refrain from acting on their unwanted attractions and also overcome the stigma and shame that can accompany such attractions. Our work in this area is illuminating a little-known and poorly understood population that currently has no access to prevention services. If effective, “Help Wanted” could help prevent cases of child sexual abuse and improve the lives of these adolescents.

Earlier this month, I was invited to give a talk at TEDMED before a passionate, global audience of influential delegates. I talked about our research, the argument for a public health approach to preventing child sexual abuse, and most importantly, the need to fund this kind of research. We plan to share a video of this talk with donors, partners and colleagues soon.  Stay tuned.

Targeting At-risk Youth and Families

The average age of someone who commits a sexual offense against a prepubescent child is just 14 years old. In fact, about half of all such offenses are committed by youth. That surprising fact is why several of our studies are devoted to preventing older children , including teens, from engaging in harmful or illegal sexual behavior with younger children. This year we received funding from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Child and Human Development to create a school-based prevention program targeting 6th and 7th grade children to teach them how to behave responsibly with younger children. We’ve also partnered with fellow JHSPH researchers to create an education-based intervention for at-risk families. Caregivers will learn positive parenting techniques and how to encourage healthy sexual development in their children. We look forward to sharing the results of these studies.

Promotions and Additions

I was recently promoted to full professor with tenure in the Department of Mental Health and am grateful to all those who have supported me since I joined the DMH faculty. In addition, Dr. Ryan Shields has been promoted to associate director of the Moore Center. He has become an eloquent and effective spokesperson for the center and has represented our center exceptionally well at policy and practice conferences. We also welcomed Ms. Karen Baker, director of the National Violence Resource Center to our Scientific Advisory Board.

Looking Ahead to 2017

This year we will host our fifth annual symposium, Child Sexual Abuse: A Public Health Perspective, on April 27, 2017. Registration for this event will open in late January and will be linked on our website.

In 2017 we plan on hiring two new staff positions: a policy manager and a development manager. These positions will be critical in our mission to raise visibility, secure necessary funding, and continue our research, policy and advocacy work on behalf of children everywhere.

A Very Special Thank You

The Moore Center was founded in 2012 with a substantial gift from the Moore family – Steve, Julia and Chloe – who have been our champions. Their gift allows us to accomplish our mission to raise awareness of the need for child sexual abuse prevention and fund the important research that other funders won’t or can’t. We are pleased to share that they are continuing their support of our center for another five years. This important work would not be possible without the help and the support of the Moore family and, indeed, all of our donors who gave generously in 2016.

Please Join Us

Because our mission relies greatly on philanthropic gifts, we hope we can count on you.

To donate, please visit jhsph.edu/giving/ and click the “Give Now” box in the upper right hand corner of the page. Please select “Other” beside the “Please designate my gift to support” section and type “Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse” in the field.

If you would like to mail a check, write it to “Johns Hopkins University” and designate that it’s for the “Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse”. Our mailing address is:

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Office of External Affairs
615 N. Wolfe St. E2132
Baltimore, MD 21205-2179

Thank you for your belief in the mission of the Moore Center and best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season.

Sincerely,

Dr. Elizabeth Letourneau and the Moore Center Team