Headlines about child sexual abuse : was there a moral panic in Winnipeg between 1983 and 1985?
Peters, Carolyn J.
This exploratory study examined whether there was evidence to suggest that there was a moral panic about child sexual abuse in Winnipeg between 1983 and 1985? Stanely Cohen's (1980) definition of "moral panic" forms the basis for seven criteria which were applied and examined to explore an interactional explanation for child sexual abuse as a social problem. These criteria include an analysis of newspaper articles, organizational response, community leaders' reactions, community values, rates of abuse reporting and substantiated cases, and legislation and social policy changes. The results show that there is evidence to suggest that there was a moral panic according to Cohen's (1980) definition and raises additional issues and questions for study. An interactional analysis is suggested of the history of child sexual abuse as a social problem as it was addressed by the Winnipeg community.