National Child Abuse Expert Available to Discuss Implications of Penn State Settlement

Monday, October 28, 2013

DURHAM, N.H. -- David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes against Children Research Center and professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire, is available to comment of the implications of the Penn State settlement for those abused by former football coach Jerry Sandusky. On Oct. 28, 2013, Penn State announced it has agreed to pay $59.7 million to 26 victims of Sandusky.

According to Finkelhor, the needs of victims often are complex and extensive, and for many victims of child sexual abuse, justice is achieved by preventing future harm.

"The key to real prevention is awareness and education. There is no question that the Sandusky case has advanced these goals. Certainly, campuses all over the country are reviewing their standards and educating their staff members to make sure it 'won't happen here,' " Finkelhor said.

"But the Sandusky case also reminds us of how much more we potentially have to do. Nearly 50 years after mandatory reporting laws came into effect and 10 years after the priest abuse scandal, highly educated and well-meaning professionals still fail to do the right thing," he said.

A nationally recognized expert who has published extensively in the field of child abuse treatment, prevention, and developmental victimology, Finkelhor served on the Youth Protection Advisory Board for the Boy Scouts of America, and on Cardinal Bernard Law's Commission for the Protection of Children. He also was a consultant to the National Catholic Risk Retention Group in developing abuse prevention strategies for Catholic dioceses around the country.

Finkelhor has been studying the problems of child victimization, child maltreatment and family violence since 1977. He is well known for his conceptual and empirical work on the problem of child sexual abuse, reflected in publications such as Childhood Victimization (Oxford University Press, 2008), Sourcebook on Child Sexual Abuse (Sage, 1986) and Nursery Crimes (Sage, 1988). He has also written about child homicide, missing and abducted children, children exposed to domestic and peer violence, and other forms of family violence. He is editor and author of 11 books and more than 150 journal articles and book chapters. In 1994, he was given the Distinguished Child Abuse Professional Award by the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children and in 2004 he was given the Significant Achievement Award from the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,300 undergraduate and 2,200 graduate students.

David Finkelhor, director of the UNH Crimes against Children Research Center.