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Justice Department Examines Emerging Trends in Child Abuse

Department Hosts Program in Observance of April's Designation as National Child Abuse Prevention Month


Contact: Joan LaRocca, Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, 202-307-0703


WASHINGTON, Mar. 29 /Standard Newswire/ --  In commemorating the 24th annual National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Assistant Attorney General Regina B. Schofield of the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) today joined two prominent speakers in a program titled "Emerging Trends of Child Abuse:  Prevention, Intervention and Treatment for the 21st Century." 


"The safety and well-being of our nation's children is something each of us cares deeply about," said Assistant Attorney General Schofield.  "National Child Abuse Prevention Month gives us an opportunity to highlight our longstanding commitment to working with our partners in preventing and treating child abuse.  Today's program highlights the work of two outstanding professionals who are contributing resources to our work of understanding the new dangers children face, including threats of victimization created by the technology they use daily."      


The purpose of today's event was to improve and expand the nation's efforts to better serve child victims by presenting an analysis of crime victimization statistics, studies of child victims and their special needs, and descriptions of programs and approaches that address these needs.  The program included presentations by Sharon W. Cooper, M.D., F.A.A., of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill and David Finkelhor, Professor of Sociology, and Director of the Crimes against Children Research Center, and Co-Director of the Family Research Laboratory Department, of the University of New Hampshire. Their remarks highlighted work in the field of abuse and developmental pediatrics, and research in a broad range of crime victimization at various stages of childhood.  The audience included policy makers, law enforcement agencies, social service organizations, and representatives from other federal departments. Each participant was asked to communicate today’s messages to each of their own departments, organizations and colleagues throughout the month of April.


Dr. Finkelhor discussed the prevalence and frequency of children's exposure to violence in the United States and addressed how exposure to violence may affect a child's behavior later in life.  As a result of these devastating impacts of violence on children,  OJP's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is launching a comprehensive study to be conducted by Dr. Finkelhor and his colleagues to help quantify numbers on the levels of violence in children's lives in this country.  The study will document the wide range of victimization experiences across a broad developmental spectrum.


Dr. Cooper's discussion, "Normalization of Sexual Harm," focused on sexually explicit imagery in toys, clothing, music, movies, and everyday communication. Resources and information from today's event can be found at


The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims.  OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises five component bureaus and an office: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy and OJP's American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Desk.  More information can be found at