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Abuse: Child and Spousal

  • By: Richard T. Cole
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Child advocates in the United States acknowledge that the public today is well informed about child abuse. However, the intense news coverage of the most horrific cases contributes to a frame of reference for abuse as a series of unrelated criminal episodes, which is thought to create a sense of abuse as largely unpreventable aberrations. This atrocity frame is frequently blamed for overpowering a broader possible frame of abuse as a public health issue, therefore undermining efforts to fund prevention at levels comparable to other epidemic-prevention efforts.

Various advocacy groups, including government agencies and private foundations, have advanced communication strategies that attempt to reframe abuse in its broader societal and public health context. For example, Prevent Child Abuse America (PCAA) in 2004 published a white paper, ...

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