Issues in the Media

The Leadership Council seeks to education the public on the issues raised by Important stories that influence the public’s perception and response to child maltreatment.

Comments on Media Presentations

Past Blogs

Michael Jackson Trial
Father Shanley Trial

Recognizing Excellence

The media is one of the main sources of information on current social problems. Each year the Leadership Council in conjunction with the Family Violence & Sexual Assault Institute recognize outstanding contributions to the popular media that increase the public’s comprehension and awareness of the problem of child maltreatment.

Awards Year


Scout Master Documentary Team
A rural Arkansas community grapples with the devastating revelation that a local man used his
position as a scout leader to sexually assault young boys. Video


Amy Herdy, Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick Directors of Allen V. Farrow for the film’s  stunning and insightful look into sexual abuse and the failures of the family court system. We also applaud the informative Podcasts that allowed viewers to learn more about the important concepts introduced in the film. Many survivors contacted providers and our organizations stating how much the film resonated with their own experiences. The film also serves to educate the legal system on some of the impediments to prosecuting child sexual abuse in young children. Companion podcast to the HBO Original documentary series Allen v. Farrow


David Ulich, Dr. Steven Ungerleider, and Professor Marci Hamilton for the documentary film ‘At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal’.
The film provides a sensitive and informed portrayal of the wide-ranging effects of Nasser’s
abuse on his victims, as well as the corrupt system that enabled him, and shines a spotlight on
how abusers are allowed to flourish in our institutions.


Wendy Murphy for her numerous op-eds on various forms of Interpersonal
Violence. Since 1993, Murphy has also dedicated her career to representing crime victims in
civil and criminal cases and working as an impact litigator, filing test cases to change the law and
improve civil rights and constitutional rights for women and children.


Pat Conroy: In honor and memory of this prolific writer, we extend our recognition for his major contributions over the course of his life time. His numerous books have enhanced the public’s understanding, compassion and empathy for the impact of interpersonal violence within the family and other major societal institutions. The Award was accepted on Pat’s behalf by his beloved wife, author Cassandra King Conroy.


James Redford for his documentary films Paper Tigers and Resilience
These films provide stories of children, educators and scientists grappling with the results of
trauma on young people. Resilience chronicles the dawn of a movement that is determined to
fight against the effects of abuse on children’s brains. Trailblazers in pediatrics, education, and
social welfare are using cutting-edge science and field-tested therapies to protect children from
the dark legacy of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Paper Tigers examines the promise
of Trauma Informed Communities – a movement that is helping traumatized youth heal from


Charles M. Blow for Fire Shut Up in My Bones a moving memoir of coming of age as a black boy in the Deep South. Blow’s memoir calls attention to the harmful effects of early sexual abuse on males and exposes the horror of hazing culture on college campuses. This courageous book serves to educate readers on the aftermath of sexual victimization and its lifelong consequences.


Ross Cheit for The Witchhunt Narrative.Cheit’s painstaking research into the child abuse day care scandals of the 80’s shed new light on the misinformation promulgated in the press and academia. His outstanding work has served to validate the experiences of young victims of sexual abuse and to question some fundamental assumptions that have pervaded the legal and psychological fields and interfered with accurate assessment of child victims.


Robin Sax, Martin Burns and Gina Silva of Fox 11 News in Los Angeles for their investigative reporting on the family court crisis. See Damon’s Story – Lost In The System (Sept. 10, 2012) 16-year-old Damon had been all over the web telling how he’s running from a father he says abused him and how a court system has failed to protect him. In an exclusive interview while still in hiding, Damon finally tells his story which he’s been trying to tell for years.
Read more: NYTs coverEmily Bazelon for “The Price of a Stolen Childhood” (New York Times, January 24, 2013) Bazelon tells the stofy of Nicole. When she was a child, her father took pornographic pictures of her that still circulate on the internet. Bazelon tells the toll that child pornography takes on its victims, not only at the time, but the continuing trauma of having videos of her abuse still being watched and cheered by men around the world.


Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering, and Tanner Barklow for the groundbreaking documentary The Invisible War The Invisible War, a groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of America’s most shameful and best kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within the U.S. military. The Department of Defense estimates there were 19,000 violent sex crimes in the military in 2010. A female soldier in combat zones is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire.The Invisible War exposes the epidemic, breaking open one of the most under-reported stories of our generation, to the nation and the world.
Amos Kamil for his article Prep-School Predators: The Horace Mann School’s Secret History of Sexual Abuse in The New York Times (June 6, 2012). Excerpt: “Stories like theirs point to why sexual abuse by teachers — or religious leaders or relatives, for that matter — is so especially damaging. As Mones said: “It’s counterintuitive, but sexual abuse emotionally binds the child closer to the person who has harmed him, setting him up for a life plagued by suspicion and confusion, because he will never be sure who he can really trust. And in my experience, this is by far the worst consequence of sexual abuse.” That’s one reason, he said, why those few victims who ever speak out at all tend to do so only after the abuser is dead or dying: telling the truth while the other person is still strong enough to deny it, or to blame the accuser, is just too terrifying.”


Garland Waller for her groundbreaking documentary No Way Out But One, a feature length documentary currently in post-production. It tells the story of an American woman accused of kidnapping her own children, a woman who fled the country and became the first American to be granted asylum by the government of the Netherlands on grounds of domestic
Peter Jamison for his article “California Family Courts Helping Pedophiles, Batterers Get Child Custody” in San Francisco Weekly (March 2, 2011).The article provided a sensitive and informed portrayal of the failure of family courts to protect children has helped to raise public awareness about this difficult and often neglected topic.


Martin Moran for his autobiography The Tricky Part: A boy’s story of sexual trespass, a man’s journey to forgiveness. Moran’s book offers an honest and moving portrayal of the difficulties young boys face when molested by someone they trust and admire. PreciousThe movie Precious: Special thank you to Chyna Layne, who played Rhonda in Precious for accepting the award on behalf of the entire creative team and her inspiring remarks at the IVAT conference. Also, a special thank you to Executive Producer Lisa Cortes who helped us coordinate our awards ceremony. In addition we recognize, producers Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, director, Lee Daniels, Sapphire (who wrote the novel “Push”), and screenplay writer Geoffrey Fletcher, actors Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Mariah Carey, Paula Patton, and executive producers Tyler Perry, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Heller.


Journalist Victoria Balfour, a freelance writer from New York City, for her work in exposing the Aryes scandel. There were numerous warnings that Dr. William Ayres, a respected child psychiatrist from California, had been molesting young boys sent to him for counseling. When a criminal case against him was finally filed against him, it was largely due to Balfour’s long running investigation. more


Hershel Walker, football legend and Heisman Trophy winner, for his book courageous book Breaking Free: My Life with Dissociative Identity Disorder.
Andrea Moore Emmet, an award-winning journalist who writes regularly for the Salt Lake City Weekly, was honored for her book God’s Brothel and her A&E documentary, Inside Polygamy detailing the institutionalized physical, sexual, and psychological abuse of women and children in polygamous families and communities.


Amy Berg, was honored for her documentary Deliver Us From Evil, which unveils how church superiors covered up the crimes of a pedophilic priest and shuffled him from diocese to diocese in northern California, finally placing him in an unsupervised position of authority in a small town, where he sexually assaulted dozens of children. Also honored was Jan Goodwin for her article “No, Daddy No!” published in the November 2006 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine. Goodwin describes the strange paradox of family court systems that fail to protect children from sexual predators in their own homes.


Abuse survivor and movie producer, Celesta Davis, was honored for her documentary Awful Normal. The movie shows that abuse affects not only the victim but all members of the family. It also shows the central role of betrayal of trust. Celesta maintains a website and has traveled through out the world using her documentary to educate the public about the harm of child sexual abuse and its corrosive effects on families.


Abuse survivor and movie producer Angela Shelton was honored for her documentary Searching for Angela Shelton (2001). In this film Shelton not only breaks the silence around her own abuse, but helps others to do so also. Since her film has come out Angela has traveled all over North America serving as a beacon of hope for survivors. The movie also helps educate nonsurvivors on numerous issues related to abuse.
Also honored was Marilyn Van Derbur, a former Miss America, was honored for her book Miss America by Day (2003), and for her extensive history of speaking out about incest. In her book, Ms. Van Derbur tells the story of how she was sexually violated by her prominent, millionaire father from age 5 to age 18. Using her story as the scaffolding, she shares knowledge and insights she has gained through speaking personally with adult survivors of sexual abuse across the country.


Abuse survivor Alison Arngrim (2004), who played Nellie Oleson on the TV show “Little House on the Prairie”, for her candid and informative discussion of her abuse as a child by a relative on CNN’s Larry King Live (air date: April 27, 2004)


The film Antwone Fisher for its courage and accuracy in portraying the adverse consequences of child abuse, and the importance of therapeutic intervention and personal resilience in healing. Our special recognition to Todd Black, Producer, Denzel Washington, Director/Producer/Principal Actor, Antwone Fisher, Screenwriter and Derek Luke, Principal Actor.

Garland Waller for her groundbreaking documentary Small Justice: Little Justice in America’s Family Courts. This film exposes the widespread failure of family courts to protect victims of domestic violence and child abuse from their abusers. You can learn more about this important film by going to the Small Justice website.


Investigative reporter Kristen Lombardi and the Boston Phoenix for their series of groundbreaking articles that documented the scope of child sex abuse in the local Catholic Church community, and subsequent efforts in the church hierarchy to cover it up. The film Close to Home for its sensitivity and clarity in documenting the pain and difficulty that both children and adult survivors of child sex abuse face in disclosing their histories. The film was produced by Vanessa Roth and Alexandra Dickson through the generosity of the Mark McGwire Foundation for Children.


The television show Judging Amy for its realistic and sensitive portrayal of current issues concerning child maltreatment.