Working together toward A World Without Abuse

 
 
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“We’re out to change the world, and we believe it’s possible.”

Sue Bolde, TBCAC Executive Director

The Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center (TBCAC) brings help, hope and healing to children and families in the aftermath of an allegation of sexual abuse, physical abuse or witness to a violent crime. For some, the path to healing is clear. For others, the obstacles may seem insurmountable. Regardless of their trauma, their level of need, or their ability to pay, the TBCAC is here to help.

Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a truly “wicked problem,” rooted in a complex interplay of factors: individual, familial, social, political, cultural and environmental. The movement in which we’re engaged is taking on the system that gives rise to CSA. Our change model is the public will campaign, which works like a machine made up of three interlacing gears – individual behavior, social norms, and systems/laws. When these move together, change can and will happen.

This approach to social change is considered an organized, strategic initiative designed to legitimize and garner public support for social problems as a mechanism of achieving policy action or change.

“Public Will” marries the feelings and beliefs people hold about an issue with their willingness to act on it. Working together, we use the momentum generated to observe the system as it changes itself.

Building on the foundation set forth by the TBCAC, we’ve shifted our focus from primary prevention to the evolution of public will to take action and make child sexual abuse rare and non-recurring in our lifetime… a significant step to realizing the final goal of “a world without abuse.”

This strategic shift was designed to speak more clearly to the direct and powerful impact individuals can have behaviorally, culturally and within the structures and systems that drive society as a whole.

The numbers are staggering, and the need is overwhelming:

  • The estimated lifetime cost per-victim of child maltreatment (non-fatal) increased from $210,012 (2010 USD) to $830,928 (2015 USD).

  • The estimated lifetime cost per-victim of child maltreatment (fatal) increased from $1.3 to $16.6 million.

  • The estimated US population economic burden of child maltreatment based on 2015 substantiated incident cases is $428 billion, representing lifetime costs incurred annually.

  • The estimated US population economic burden of child maltreatment based on 2015 investigated incident cases is $2 trillion, representing lifetime costs incurred annually.

The Michigan Resilience Initiative is a campaign to make CSA rare and non-recurring. The initiative aims to change mindsets and build on core community values to take on the systemic conditions that give rise to CSA. The primary prevention campaign is grassroots, grounded in compassion and already at work in communities across Michigan.

The presentation team at the 2018 Child Abuse and Neglect Conference

The presentation team at the 2018 Child Abuse and Neglect Conference

Connect_CX has been brought into this initiative to help with the planning, project management, visualization and implementation of the public will initiative. We began the process in 2018 by joining a team including TBCAC leadership, board members, community members and faculty, staff and contractors from Michigan State University.

To date, we’ve been involved in:

  • Project framing and visualization, including conversations with MSU’s Office for Survey Research and Innovation Hub;

  • Writing, design and delivery of campaign awareness presentations;

  • Presentations and workshops with TBCAC board and community members, including grant proposal presentations;

  • Participation in the 2018 Child Abuse and Neglect Conference as part of a multidisciplinary research team gathering information from professionals in the field, and making them aware of our campaign to forge collaborations.

  • Building out the Public Will Campaign website, including design, content development and coordination with multiple stakeholders to describe the history and future of the campaign.

As the project continues, we will bring our skills as conveners and connectors to the project as we take key team members through our storytelling workshop, then review the results of a statewide survey and develop a systems practice initiative to help describe the system. We will also be recruiting and activating a network of consultants to carry out the strategic and tactical aspects of the campaign as it moves forward.

We are honored to be involved in this work. Truly, what could be more important?