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.
"Since its inception in 2012, the Moore Center has taken effective public health approaches to address and mitigate child sexual abuse," said Dean Ellen J. MacKenzie. "Yet this harm toward children is still all too common. This generous award from Oak Foundation will allow the Moore Center to build on its outstanding research and preventive strategies, not just here in the U.S., but worldwide."
As part of this effort, the Center will launch an online capacity-building hub to encourage widespread adoption of effective child sexual abuse perpetration prevention strategies. This hub will summarize the empirical evidence for policymakers, practitioners, and other stakeholders looking to implement perpetration prevention programs in new regions and provide consultation and other resources.
"This award is transformative. This is the type of investment for the type of work needed to truly prevent child sexual abuse from happening in the first place and to keep children safe," said Elizabeth Letourneau, director of the Moore Center and co-principal investigator for the award. "This funding will help us evaluate the most promising programs and then build global capacity to implement the effective programs. This project is more than research—it translates to action."
The Moore Center will collaborate with Michael Seto, director of the Forensic Research Unit at The Royal's Institute of Mental Health Research and a professor in Psychiatry at the University of Ottawa. Seto is a leading investigator of pedophilia and online child sexual exploitation and abuse. His work has helped to identify factors that increase or decrease risk that people with sexual interest in children will act on that interest. As co-principal investigator of the Moore Center's Global Perpetration Prevention program, Seto will lead efforts to identify and rigorously evaluate existing perpetration prevention programs.
Each year the U.S. spends more than $6 billion to imprison sex offenders. In contrast, last year the federal government earmarked $1 million for child sexual abuse prevention research. The Moore Center maintains that child sexual abuse is preventable, not inevitable, and focuses on developing strong prevention strategies, collaborating with policymakers, and empirically evaluating the effects of current sex crime policies.
"We see a unique and world-changing opportunity to prevent child sexual abuse from occurring in the first place by investing in a program of work focused on identifying, evaluating, and promoting effective perpetration prevention strategies," said Seto. "Our goal is to see the prevention of child sexual abuse on governmental agendas everywhere."