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Sept. 30, 2021

Researchers in social work focus on prevention of child sexual abuse

Heather McCauley and Joanne Smith-Darden of the Michigan State University School of Social Work are principal investigators of a newly awarded $1.6 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over four years, McCauley and Smith-Darden aim to strengthen the evidence base regarding the primary prevention of child sexual abuse through a community-engaged research partnership with Traverse Bay Children's Advocacy Center.

The project, “The Public Will Campaign: Shifting Social Norms to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse,” grapples with the question: How do we mobilize entire communities to promote the rights and safety of children? The campaign pairs grassroots outreach methods with media tools to challenge misperceptions and leverage shared values. The short-term goals of the Public Will Campaign are to build strong communities and improve attitudes, social norms and behaviors relative to child sexual abuse. The campaign's long-term goal is to end child sexual abuse for generations to come.

To read more, visit the School of Social Work website.

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