Child sexual abuse prevention advocates work to keep issue in media spotlight

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Child sexual abuse has largely fallen out of the news cycle since former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of child sexual abuse last month. Fortunately, children's advocates are working to remind readers that child sexual abuse doesn't end when a high-profile trial does. Yesterday the Survivor's Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) debuted a full-page ad in The New York Times that calls on readers to support the organization's efforts to hold bishops accountable for covering up past crimes.

The coverage of the Sandusky trial helped set the stage for this arresting advertisement. Indeed, BMSG's previous work on child sexual abuse in the news, supported by the Ms. Foundation for Women, showed that the Sandusky trial helped bring more attention to institutional accountability. I am heartened to see SNAP working to keep the news conversation focused on the failure of the church as an institution to protect children, rather than solely on individual abusers and victims. I hope other advocacy groups will follow suit in future media conversations about other institutions as they develop and implement policies to protect future children from abuse.


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