Suggested Story Angles
NCA is a trusted reporting source for national and regional media. Here are some of the story angles that have helped media to successfully put a frame around some aspect of the nation’s very complex child abuse intervention system and why it matters.
For more information about these story angles or to request an interview with a National Children’s Alliance or local Children’s Advocacy Center representative, please contact:
Director of Communications
National Children’s Alliance
COVID-19 and Child Abuse
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is a “perfect storm” for child abuse. Children are isolated in the home, when 93% of abusers are an immediate family member. On top of that, they’re home from school, apart from those caring adults, like teachers, coaches, doctors, and other child-serving professionals that are the source of the majority of child abuse reports. This is all during a high-stress, economically challenging time, representing conditions that invariably increase rates of physical abuse and neglect. How are the child abuse first responders in CACs working to reach kids during this dangerous time, even as they struggle to keep themselves safe from the deadly virus?
Childhood trauma and ACEs
Sexual abuse, physical abuse, an neglect are forms of what researchers call ACEs: adverse childhood experiences that are linked to both mental and physical health problems. The effects of trauma like abuse can lead to depression and anxiety, behavioral health problems like substance abuse and risky sexual behavior, and even medical conditions like diabetes, STDs, heart disease, and early death. Yet with treatment, many of the worst effects of childhood trauma can be avoided altogether. How can we navigate a path from child abuse to many of society’s biggest problems, and how can we get kids on a new path now?
The healing process and new approaches to therapy
The science and practice of treating trauma symptoms has exploded in the past decade. Many Children’s Advocacy Centers and their mental health providers now offer a tailored menu of treatments for kids of suited to their age, experiences, and abuse types, often significantly cutting the number of treatment sessions kids need to recover, and alleviating waitlists and backlogs. What therapies are out there now? Which ones are backed science? Report on the cutting-edge brain science used to help kids and families in your own backyard.
About a quarter of all sexual abuse cases handled through CACs involve a kid under the age of 18 acting out against another child. CACs help both victims and those who have abused them—and their families—recover from the aftermath. What are the risk and protection factors of sexual abuse among children? How can communities address sexual behavior problems in youth? Can treatments help reduce recidivism? What cultural considerations help keep children safe and restore families?
Sexting, sextortion, and protecting kids online
What can be done to prevent a child from being lured into an inappropriate relationship or viewing inappropriate materials online? Signs to look for and tips for parents—utilize NCA as a resource for finding credible sources for local stories. NCA can also connect you with experts on the topics of sexting and sextortion as they relate to child abuse who can speak to the growing issue and methods for intervention and prevention.
Child sex trafficking
Take your audience for and in-depth look at the factors surrounding child sex trafficking, how CACs respond to these cases, common misconceptions and problematic language about victims, and the unique challenges of serving this vulnerable population.
Tips to keep children safe / Educating children about “body safety”
Consult NCA to build a comprehensive list of tips for educating children on how to recognize and avoid abusive situations.
Educating our children about child abuse
A story on NCA’s proactive approach to encouraging community education and abuse prevention tactics. Highlight the need for more education in your community’s schools and utilize NCA to offer strategies for achieving this goal.
National Child Abuse Prevention Month
Child Abuse Prevention Month takes place annually in April. What is the outlook for victims of child abuse today? Discuss innovative therapeutic interventions being used by local CACs around the country. Educate parents as to what to look for and what to teach their children to keep them safe. Build awareness of the problem on a local, regional, and national scale. Present the CAC multidisciplinary approach as a model for the nation’s assessment centers.
High-profile abuse cases
When prominent people or institutions are in the spotlight of abuse allegations, how does coverage affect the community—and the victims? NCA offers perspectives on how to cover these complex episodes that can raise awareness of child abuse, but that can also send audiences the wrong message.
A look at the system
A series of news stories that takes a look at the entire child abuse intervention process by following a victim throughout every stage. From reporting to assessing to investigating to prosecuting to treatment—a look at what the child victim endures, the impact on the family, and the differences made by the multidisciplinary team approach endorsed by NCA and applied by local CACs around the country.
Presenting facts on new legislation
How will/does current legislation tied to child protective services impact local communities and the children and families served?
“Before and After”: How abuse investigations have changed
An in-depth, comparative look at how a sexual abuse case was handled in the past (at the local or national level) and how these types of cases are currently handled by CACs around the country. Feature a local CAC in your area and discuss all of the on-site services offered. A detailed look at how the multidisciplinary approach benefits the child victim and his/her family. This human interest angle would serve as positive supporting evidence of the evolution of the system.
What is a forensic interview and how does it work?
Discuss how the forensic interviewing process has changed over the years and highlight the benefits of forensic interviews (i.e., children only go through one interview; information gathered is more credible for prosecution purposes).
Mandatory reporting laws
Every state, the District of Columbia, and many U.S. territories have laws that require the reporting of suspected child abuse. In a growing number of states (currently 18), all adult residents are legally required to report suspected abuse. Other laws name certain professions likely to have close contact with children as “mandatory reporters” of abuse: medical professionals, police, teachers, child care providers, mental health providers, and many others. Workers in these fields are legally required to report suspected abuse to authorities.. Do these laws help increase child abuse reporting? Do residents understand their legal responsibilities? What are the barriers to reporting? See peer-reviewed research from NCA and the University of New Hampshire.
The evolution of the CAC model
Present how the CAC model has evolved over the years by sharing personal stories of survivors and how the changing system has positively impacted these individuals.