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Public Information Programming and Family Violence: Lessons From the Mass Media Crime Prevention Experience

NCJ Number
Canadian Journal of Criminology Volume: 32 Issue: 1 Dated: (January 1990) Pages: 91-105
V F Sacco; M Trotman
Date Published
15 pages
This article reviews the literature on public information programming, particularly mass media crime prevention, to provide a preliminary assessment of the applicability of such approaches to family violence prevention.
Three general strategies -- problem definition, offender deterrence, and the teaching of risk-reducing skills -- are identified. A tentative interpretation of available data indicates that problem definition is most likely to yield short-term social benefits in addressing a social problem. Public information campaigns may effectively challenge popular misinformation regarding the nature and the victims of family violence, and they may increase awareness of and thus the potential use of social and legal services. The modest nature of these gains suggests that mass media campaigns are not a panacea for reducing family violence, but they may have a role in a comprehensive and integrated family violence policy. Public information campaigns, however, are expensive, and their cost must be measured against alternative uses of the resources. Also, public information campaigns have the potential to heighten children's fears of adults and undermine positive interactions between children and adults. 45 references.