Japanese Delegation Sponsors Forum on Childhood Sexual Abuse and Its Impact on Health and Public Policy

Jennie Noll (center) poses for a photo with Japanese delegates.
Jennie Noll (center) poses for a photo with Japanese delegates.

In October 2014, Japanese child welfare officials, academic researchers, and policy advocates visited the United States to learn how to leverage scientific findings to impact child welfare policy in Japan.

Jennie Noll, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies and Director of Research and Education for the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network, was one of four national scholars to meet with the delegation during its tour. Members of the group hoped their visit would unveil new ways to combat rising childhood sexual abuse rates in Japan.

“The Japanese officials view themselves as being behind in terms of public health spending on evidence-based prevention and treatment,” Dr. Noll said. “I was there to build bridges and galvanize relationships…and it was a resounding success.”

Members of the delegation returned to Japan with new initiative ideas and opportunities that will help them adopt gold standard prevention and treatment efforts. However, they were not the only ones who gained a new perspective and learned from the visit. Dr. Noll said she walked away with a better understanding of the cultural differences and similarities in child advocacy efforts between the two countries.

“Academic study of the impact of childhood sexual abuse is in its infancy in Japan,” Dr. Noll said. “The delegates were eager to learn the most rigorous scientific methods that will effectively change the way policymakers invest in the prevention and treatment of childhood sexual abuse.”

The delegates expressed a desire to begin cross-cultural research collaborations with the Network, and they have begun planning return visits. They have also invited experts from the United States to visit Japan. Dr. Noll said the partnership is the kind of diplomacy, on behalf of children, that will have a global impact.

“I was inspired by the delegation’s commitment to adopting the best evidence-based treatments and prevention efforts. Penn State's Network was upheld as a model of academic commitment that should be emulated in other cultures and countries across the world,” Dr. Noll said.