NCA/CAC Style Guide

Common Language for the CAC Movement

The NCA/CAC Style Guide, updated for 2022, is intended to clarify for the CAC movement and related fields our preferred terminology and usage of language. While this guide is non-binding for NCA members, we use the guide to determine the language in our own materials and communications.

We encourage NCA members and partners to adopt this guide as well as to share with us new terms to consider for inclusion, feedback on preferred language, and questions about usage and rationale.

Access this guide now. It’s also available to members in NCA’s Brand Assets files at BrandFolder.

Contact Blake Warenik, NCA’s Director of Communications, at, with questions or feedback.

Examples of items in the guide:

  • First page of the 2022 NCA/CAC Style Guidechild prostitute, child prostitution, child sex worker Do not use. For child prostitute or child sex worker, use child trafficking victim, exploited child, or trafficked child. For child prostitution, use child sex trafficking, child sexual exploitation or commercial sexual exploitation of children.
    The language of prostitution incorrectly places the responsibility for sexual exploitation on the child instead of the adult trafficker, exploiter, or buyer. Neither can children legally or meaningfully consent to engage in sex work. When speaking with media and public officials on this topic, ensure that they understand why terms like prostitution and prostitute are problematic and incorrect. See commercially sexually exploited children.
  • child who, children who Use who, not that when referring to kids.
  • mental health screening is different than mental health assessment. Screening is used for early identification of the need for mental health services, is brief and narrow in scope, and can be administered by clinicians or non-clinicians. Mental health screenings are not diagnostic or definitive. Assessments, depending on the instrument, may be diagnostic and are comprehensive, providing a more complete clinical picture. Assessment results are often used for treatment planning.

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