Analysis of child sexual abuse in news coverage

BMSG analyzed United States newspaper coverage of childhood sexual assault to provide the Ms. Foundation for Women and its partners a more thorough understanding of what topics dominate this news coverage and how the issue is framed.

Related publications

Our first study for this project, Case by case: News coverage of child sexual abuse, provides a framework for strategic decisions about how advocates in the sexual assault prevention community might extend or shift coverage to reshape the debate to focus on prevention of such violence.

Our second study, Breaking news on child sexual abuse: Early coverage of Penn State, came on the heels of the 2011 arrest of former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, which pushed child sexual abuse into the headlines and onto the sports pages. We were interested in how the coverage of a high-profile incident compared to our previous analysis of day-to-day news coverage of child sexual abuse. The study underlines the important opportunity that breaking news about child sexual abuse provides for raising awareness about the issue, steering public attention toward the social context for the abuse, and preventing future episodes of sexual violence against children.

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