Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 5–14 | Cite as

Hidden Protections: Identifying Social Norms Associated with Child Abuse, Sexual Abuse, and Neglect

  • J. Bart KlikaEmail author
  • Amanda Haboush-Deloye
  • Jeff Linkenbach


Child abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect are serious problems in the United States impacting hundreds of thousands of children each year. Frameworks and strategies that promote positive community norms have the potential to prevent the occurrence of child abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect through strategic communications. Social norms interventions aim to identify and correct misperceptions of norms, as a way to shift group attitudes and behaviors. The purpose of the current study was to review data from one national survey and one state survey in order to increase understanding of cultural norms and potential intervention opportunities associated with the prevention of child abuse, child sexual abuse, and neglect broadly. The majority of respondents in both surveys indicate that that child maltreatment is a serious problem and that the prevention of child maltreatment is possible. However, some individuals are less knowledgeable or comfortable with taking action to prevent child maltreatment. Barriers to involvement in preventing maltreatment are discussed as well as the next steps to implement normative campaigns and interventions to increase effective prevention efforts.


Social norms Positive community norms Child abuse Sexual abuse Neglect 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Bart Klika
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amanda Haboush-Deloye
    • 2
  • Jeff Linkenbach
    • 3
  1. 1.Prevent Child Abuse AmericaChicagoUSA
  2. 2.University of Nevada, Las VegasLas VegasUSA
  3. 3.The Montana InstituteBozemanUSA

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