Can One Ad Make a Difference for Children Who Are Abused?

by Pat Shelly


One clever public service announcement (PSA) made by a group in Spain just might…



As you can see in the above video clip, abused children who may be accompanied by their abuser(s) are enabled to see a hopeful message addressed to them in a very safe and clever manner.


How? Special lenticular printing only allows the child to see the message, which adults cannot. This is what I see as an empowerment tool for abused children through the provision of trauma-informed PSAs!


What are your thoughts about this video clip? Do you think that such a PSA might help abused children in the United States? Can you offer other examples of effective PSAs?


Kiefaber, D. (2013, May 6). Child abuse ad uses lenticular printing to send kids a secret message that adults can’t see ‘Phone us and we’ll help you’. Adweek. Retrieved from


  • Brilliant!

  • Danielle Pinkerton

    This video clip is very moving. I feel that using innovative technology as a means of outreach to vulnerable populations that are difficult to target is on par with the direction our society is shifting. Using technology to connect people has been the goal for the last twenty years. I think that this PSA would be a great way to reach out to children in our country as they may be otherwise sheltered from services that can help them. The clever use of height to hide the message from adults is an interesting way to secretively reach out to the target audience without drawing attention to the child’s focus.

    I remember seeing as a child, ads on shopping carts providing phone numbers for child abuse hotlines. I always wondered how a child would be able to utilize these hotlines from a home telephone undetected, or whether they were free to dial on a pay phone. Now that pay phones are virtually extinct, I imagine the popularity of mobile phones would be a valued asset to children who may rely on someone at school or in the community to reach these services. A possible set back resulting from our current standards of phone use is that many households don’t have a main phone line, and adults tend to have personal cell phones that they would not permit their child to use.

    Here is a list from a popular website of some of the world’s most powerful child abuse Public Service Announcements.

    The child sex abuse ads in this list are disturbing, which can be deterring, but also resonate in a way that is hard to ignore. It makes it more difficult for a bystander to dismiss the impact of the issue. It gives me the impression that if I can’t stomach the sight of these ads, how can I ignore signs of actual abuse, knowing that the victim must be feeling far worse?

    Additionally, the PSA’s that are geared towards adult witnesses are impactful in that many people are afraid to report suspected abuses due to the concern that they may be falsely suspicious. However, the “S#*$ kids say” PSA clarifies that it is up to the professionals to decide whether the suspicions are substantiated and takes the burden of certainty off of the potential witnesses. I feel that a PSA like this would be highly valuable in the United States. I feel that there is a massive cultural stigma behind being “nosey” or overzealous. However, one can refer to a woman who recently rescued a baby from a hot car who was reportedly discouraged by onlookers from getting involved. Medical experts who cared for the baby reported that her actions saved the child’s life.

    I think more PSA’s announcing protections such as “the good Samaritan law” can also go a long way in these types of situations. I also feel that PSA’s in our country aren’t impactful enough to get the message across that a child’s safety is more important than an adults comfort zone.

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