International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children Australia Ltd


Changing the public discourse around child sexual exploitation

February 24, 2023

Using appropriate language and applying a victim-centric approach when engaging in public discourse surrounding the heinous crime of child sexual abuse and exploitation is critical to raising awareness, reducing stigma and empowering victim survivors to share their personal experiences.

Our inaugural Monthly Brown Bag event featured Dr Kerry McCallum, Director of the News and Media Research Centre at the University of Canberra. Dr McCallum presented on the importance of using appropriate terminology in relation to child sexual exploitation and shared insights from her team’s research project, commissioned by the National Office for Child Safety (NOCS), which included a literature review and quantitative and qualitative analysis of media coverage on child sexual abuse over a two‑year period.

You can access the recording of Kerry’s insightful and informative presentation below. Having difficult conversations about the sexual abuse of children is a critical aspect of creating awareness of this crime, But it is essential that public discourse of this topic be trauma-informed and incorporate appropriate language.

To find out more about Dr McCallum’s research and the implications of her findings, read our Expert Interview.

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