November 3, 2022
Pilot Study Finds School-based Prevention Program Shows Promise Educating Adolescents About Avoiding Child Sexual Abuse Behaviors
A school-based prevention program designed to help adolescents interact appropriately with younger children and avoid behaviors associated with child sexual abuse shows promise for building a foundation for prevention, according to a new study led by Elizabeth J. Letourneau, PhD, director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse.
The pilot study—an analysis of responses from 123 sixth- and seventh-graders in four urban schools—assessed students’ awareness and intentions around child sexual abuse after completing a multi-module prevention program, Responsible Behavior with Younger Children.
The researchers found students who had participated in the program demonstrated increased accuracy in their knowledge about child sexual abuse norms and laws and sexual consent. Study participants also reported increased intention to avoid or prevent child sexual abuse with younger children and peer sexual harassment. The findings were published online Sept. 30 in the journal Child Maltreatment.
"We tell older kids not to kick or punch or tease younger children, but we don't always give them the same clear guidance that sexual behavior with younger kids is harmful and illegal," says Letourneau, a professor in the School's Department of Mental Health. "We want to give them the information, tools, and skills they need to recognize child sexual abuse and keep themselves and other kids safe."
Earlier research, including a 2019 study analyzing National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence data, suggests that half or more of sexual offenses against U.S. children are perpetrated by other children under age 18. Earlier research also found that ignorance about child sexual abuse and general impulsivity are risk factors for adolescents to engage a younger child in problem sexual behavior. Read more.
August 22, 2022
A Framework for Understanding the Impact of Health Insurance on Preventing Family Violence
Research is needed to identify policies operating at macrosystem levels that reduce, at scale, multiple forms of violence affecting children, including child maltreatment and intimate partner violence.
Health insurance is not intended to exert effects on child maltreatment and intimate partner violence, yet there is reason to believe that it may, since it reduces known risk factors associated with these types of violence, including depression, substance abuse, and financial hardship.
A new study from the Moore Center proposes a three-step theory of change through which health insurance expansions might reduce rates of child maltreatment and intimate partner violence, using Medicaid expansion as an example.
The study was led by Elizabeth J. Letourneau, PhD, and published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect in July 2022.
The three-step theory of change researchers outlined includes:
Step 1: Health insurance expansions among low-income parents and children increase access to medication and other services for mental health and substance use problems and reduce out-of-pocket costs and medical debt.
Step 2: The effect of these improvements is to reduce mental health and non-medical substance use problems and improve family financial stability.
Step 3: Reductions in mental health and substance use problems and improved financial stability are associated with reduced rates of child maltreatment and intimate partner violence.
Researchers said the framework can inform research examining the link between health insurance and the primary prevention of child maltreatment and intimate partner violence.
Study authors include Luciana Assini-Meytin, PhD, and Reshmi Nair, PhD, of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, and Emma B. McGinty, PhD, Michele R. Decker, ScD, MPH, and Elizabeth A. Stuart, PhD, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
June 13, 2022
Long-term Impact of Child Sexual Abuse Includes Lower Household Income, Financial Instability
The impact of child sexual abuse extends well into adulthood, increasing socioeconomic disadvantages for men and women, including lower educational attainment, lower household income, and lower financial stability, according to a new study from the Moore Center.
The study, led by Luciana Assini-Meytin, PhD, and published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, used data from 10,119 participants in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, a nationally represented cohort of teenagers in grades 7-12 who were followed until ages 33-44. Some 25% of women and nearly 10% of men in this group reported having been sexually abused as a child.
Using propensity score weighted models, researchers found that:
- By their late 30s, men and women who experienced child sexual abuse had lower educational attainment, lower odds of being financially stable, and a decrease in household income, relative to individuals who did not experience child sexual abuse.
- Child sexual abuse was associated with lower odds of being employed among women only
Study findings contribute to the growing body of research showing that consequences of child sexual abuse victimization go beyond adverse mental and behavioral health outcomes, such as depression, anxiety, and substance use.
“Child sexual abuse can alter a life trajectory in many, many ways,” Assini-Meytin said. “If we have a better understanding of why people who have experienced child sexual abuse victimization are achieving lower socioeconomic attainment, we can provide preventive programs and treatment to help mitigate these consequences. The more we know about the long-term impact of child sexual abuse, the more it strengthens the argument for investing resources in preventing it from happening in the first place.”
Study authors include Evelyn J. Thorne, PhD, and Elizabeth J. Letourneau, PhD, of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, Mythili Sanikommu, MPH, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Kerry M. Green, PhD, of the University of Maryland School of Public Health.
March 25, 2022
Annual Cost of Incarcerating Adults Convicted of Child Sex Crimes Tops $5.4 Billion
The U.S. government spent an estimated $5.4 billion last year at the state and federal level to incarcerate adults convicted of sex crimes against children under age 18, according to a new study led by Elizabeth J. Letourneau, PhD, director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The study calculated annual spending on incarcerated adults convicted of sex crimes against children under age 18 in U.S. federal and state prisons and sex offender civil commitment facilities. The findings, published online March 23 in the journal Sexual Abuse, highlight the cost of what is considered a preventable public health problem.
“The costs for this incarceration are extraordinary,” says Letourneau, a professor in the School’s Department of Mental Health. “We spend billions of dollars on criminal justice remedies after child sexual abuse has already occurred, and yet there are very limited resources for preventing this abuse from occurring in the first place.” Read more.
March 1, 2022
Is the Affordable Care Act Medicaid Expansion Associated With Reported Incidents of Child Sexual Abuse?
A new study led by Luciana Assini-Meytin, PhD, of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and published online in the journal Child Maltreatment seeks to understand whether Medicaid expansion affects reported incidents of child sexual abuse. Previous studies identified reduced reports of child neglect in states that expanded Medicaid, relative to those that did not. However, Assini-Meytin and team conclude there is no statistically significant association between Medicaid expansion and CSA incidents.
"As we search for effective child maltreatment prevention policies and strategies, it is important to recognize that there are both shared and unique risk and protective factors," the researchers write. "We cannot assume that a macro-level policy that works to prevent neglect will also work to prevent sexual abuse."
Study authors include Reshmi Nair, PhD, and Elizabeth J. Letourneau, PhD, of the Moore Center and Emma B. McGinty, PhD, and Elizabeth A. Stuart, PhD of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
November 18, 2021
New Study Will Be First To Trace Global Prevalence of Child Sexual Abuse Perpetration
A five-year study will develop the world’s first comprehensive estimates of the prevalence of child sexual abuse (CSA) perpetration in at least six countries, yielding methodologies that can be replicated across diverse regions and delivering the statistical cornerstone needed to prevent CSA before it happens.
March 25, 2021
Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse Teams Up with Darkness to Light for National Conference Presented by the Monique Burr Foundation for Children
New Year, new symposium. The Moore Center’s Child Sexual Abuse: A Public Health Perspective symposium will virtual this year on April 27-29. For the first time, the Moore Center and Darkness to Light are teaming up to offer their annual prevention events Child Sexual Abuse: A Public Health Perspective and IGNITE 2021 in a single event.
March 3, 2021
JOHNS HOPKINS MOORE CENTER FOR THE PREVENTION OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE RECEIVES $10.3 MILLION GRANT FOR GLOBAL PREVENTION PROGRAM
Center will conduct research studies and assess and develop perpetration prevention programs aimed at curbing child sexual abuse
The Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has been awarded $10.3 million from Oak Foundation for the Center’s new “Global Perpetration Prevention: Translating Knowledge into Action” program. The five-year program will identify, validate, and disseminate perpetration prevention programs worldwide. The award is thought to be the single largest investment in child sexual abuse prevention.
March 1, 2021
Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse awarded a $1.6 million, four-year research grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Moore Center to collaborate with Barry University to create an online intervention for people with an attraction to children
In January 2020, the Moore Center was awarded a $1.6 million grant from the CDC to develop, execute, and test the effectiveness of Help Wanted Prevention, a free, online course aimed to help individuals attracted to younger children live safe, healthy, non-offending lives.
December 9, 2020
NEW REPORT SETS OUT PRINCIPLES TO REDUCE CHILD SEXUAL ASSAULT RISK IN YOUTH GROUP SETTINGS
A new report from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers offers recommendations for youth organizations to bolster policies and practices aimed at preventing child sexual abuse.
May 20, 2020
PREVENTING CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE DURING COVID-19
The Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse launches family resource pages, online course for people concerned about their own sexual feelings toward children.
CDC AWARDED CONGRESSIONAL APPROPRIATIONS OF $1 MILLION IN NEW FUNDING FOR RESEARCH ON CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE PREVENTION
The Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual welcomes the appropriation of $1 million in new Congressional funding for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Injury and Violence Prevention for child sexual assault prevention research.