Coverage of Penn State, Sandusky case needs to include victim perspectives and sexual abuse prevention information

Kristen Houser

Vice President of Communications, PCAR

(717) 728-9740, Ext. 144 or (814) 933-9960 cell



Tracy Cox

Communications Director, NSVRC

(717) 909-0710, Ext. 116



The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) thank the media for its ongoing coverage related to the Jerry Sandusky case. These stories matter to survivors of sexual abuse. We advise journalists to infuse sexual abuse prevention information and victim perspectives into their reporting to ensure responsible, comprehensive coverage.


Survivors have contacted us with concerns that recent coverage is devoid of victim perspective, the long-term impacts of sexual abuse, available services/resources, and sexual abuse prevention. Additionally, they tell us that ongoing coverage of topics such as the NCAA sanctions, the Freeh report, and university governance has been upsetting and stressful.


PCAR and NSVRC are available to provide expertise, context, resources and referrals on these topics. When reporting on sexual violence-related stories, please include the following in your news coverage:

  • Victims’ voices and perspectives
  • Resources for support and counseling, such as regional hotlines and websites
  • Information and resources about how everyone has an active role to play in preventing sexual abuse


Some stories might require:

  • Information about offender behaviors
  • Information on how responses to trauma can be different for each victim
  • Contextual insight, such as the unique needs of male victims

NSVRC has developed resources to aid reporters in covering this topic. Download a copy of NSVRC’s media packet at  The Poynter Institute and NSVRC offer a free, online course for journalists. To enroll in the course, visit


The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape is the oldest state anti-sexual violence coalition in the U.S. The organization represents 50 sexual assault centers that serve the state’s 67 counties. Each year these centers provide education and confidential services, at no charge, to more than 30,000 men, women and children affected by sexual abuse. Founded by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape in 2000, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center identifies, develops and disseminates resources regarding all aspects of sexual violence prevention and intervention. For news and updates, visit and

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