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Child Sexual Abuse and the Media

15.08.2019 11:50 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Deadline: December 15, 2019

Edited by Daniela Stelzmann (Institute for Media and Communication Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany) and Josephine Ischebeck (Psychologist, Berlin, Germany).

Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a problem which takes place in the center of our society and has dramatic effects on the victims’ physical and mental health. Between 3 to 31 % of the children worldwide have been sexually abused in either offline or online environments (Barth, Bermetz, Heim, Trelle, & Tonia, 2013). Accurate estimations are difficult due to the high amount of undetected cases. Although a large percentage of children become victims in every social stratum, CSA remains a highly tabooed topic. Very few victims and other significant groups (e.g. spouses, parents, etc.) talk about their experiences, often out of fear of stigmatization (Ybarra, Strasburger & Mitchell, 2014).

Although most people did not experience CSA or do not have access to first hand reports, we have a certain mental representation of CSA including its causes and effects. We gain this indirect experience from media coverage (Jackob, 2018; Meltzer, 2019) which is – until up to date – often focused on high profile cases (Kitzinger, 2008; Popović, 2018). Information about prevention programs and follow up stories are rare (Kitzinger, 2004).

With the upcoming edited book about CSA and the media, we hope to draw attention to the status quo of this topic: From perspectives of significant groups, to possible risks and opportunities of media coverage, as well as ideas for improvement. Submissions dealing with the use of media as a platform for CSA (e.g. CSA images and videos, online grooming in social media) are also welcome.

Topics for chapters may include but are not limited to: 

  • Media coverage of CSA
  • Effects of media coverage for victims, offenders and other significant groups, especially regarding CSA
  • Risks and opportunities of media coverage, especially regarding CSA
  • How to improve media coverage about CSA
  • Media and crime prevention, especially prevention of CSA
  • Media influence on public and individual opinions and political discussions
  • Media and stigma
  • Education through media
  • Journalists’ point of view and its influence on their publications
  • Effects on journalists of dealing with emotional topics
  • Effects of CSA for victims, offenders and other significant groups
  • CSA in music, film, gaming and television
  • Usage of media as a platform for CSA (e. g. CSA images and videos, online grooming)
  • Your own suggested idea

Submission details

We would like to invite extended abstracts (a maximum of 500 words), accompanied by a short biographical statement, until December 15th, 2019. The submissions should contain an introduction, theoretical background, methods as well as (preliminary) results.

Please address proposals and/or any inquiries to Daniela Stelzmann ( Submission implies a commitment to publish in this volume if your work is selected for inclusion.

Your submissions will be reviewed until January 15 th, 2020. Accepted contributors will be asked to submit their full chapters of 5000 to 6500 words (including references, tables etc.) by May 31 th, 2020. The book is intended for publication with NOMOS.



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