AVA, IVAT, Child USA and Zero Abuse Project Statement on QAnon

As organizations dedicated to ending violence, the Academy on Violence & Abuse (AVA),[1] the Institute on Violence, Abuse & Trauma (IVAT),[2] Child USA [3] and Zero Abuse Project,[4] are deeply concerned about QAnon, a conspiracy theory which is gaining adherents at a concerning rate. [5]

As is often the case with conspiracy theories, QAnon is “constantly changing” but, at its core, "QAnon supporters believe that ‘Q’ is an anonymous government official sharing information about a secret battle" with "the deep state." [6 Adherents to this conspiracy theory contend that “Q” is likely an “intelligence or military insider with proof that corrupt world leaders are secretly torturing children all over the world.”[7] QAnon is a quasi-religious phenomenon that distorts Christian teachings to advance what has been dubbed an “alternative religion.”[8]

Throughout history, conspiracy theories have damaged reputations and, in some instances, incited violence. In keeping with this painful tradition, QAnon has recklessly asserted baseless claims that risk a violent response. In 2017, a religious father of two children drove 360 miles to a pizza parlor in our nation’s capital and fired several rounds at a locked door in the hope of freeing children he believed to be victims of a satanic sex ring.[9] Given its potential to incite violence such as this, the FBI has deemed QAnon a “domestic terror threat.”[10]

In addition to its potential to incite violence, QAnon is harmful to child abuse victims by focusing attention on child maltreatment in a fictitious world instead of addressing the abuse of children in the real world.[11] The abuse of children, including human trafficking, is an egregious crime calling for a robust response by each of us. Our nation has numerous experts on child abuse who can assist every community and every interested individual in taking concrete actions to prevent abuse and, where it cannot be prevented to respond with excellence. We believe this a better approach than promoting a conspiracy theory. 

AVA, IVAT, Child USA and Zero Abuse Project urges everyone to recognize the potential harm of QAnon to our families and communities and join us in taking concrete actions to address actual cases of child abuse in our homes, schools, neighborhoods, faith communities, and society.


[1] The mission of the Academy on Violence & Abuse (AVA) is to advance health education and research on the recognition, treatment, and prevention of the health effects of violence and abuse throughout the lifespan.

[2] The Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma (IVAT) is a 501c(3) organization that condemns violence and oppression in all its forms.

[3] Child USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit think tank that conducts evidence-based legal, medical, and social science research to identify laws and policies affecting child protection.

[4] Zero Abuse Project is a 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to the elimination of child abuse in all its form. 

[5] Veronica Stracquarlusi, “The congressional candidates who have embraced the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory,” August 12, 2020, available online

[6] Aaron Franco and Morgan Radford, “QAnon candidates: Fringe Conspiracy Theory Moves Closer to the political mainstream,” NBC News, November 11, 2019, available online (last visited August 27, 2020).

[7] Adrienne LaFrance, “The Prophecies of Q,” The Atlantic, June 2020 issue, available online (last accessed August 27, 2020).

[8] Katelyn Beaty, “The alternative religion that’s coming to your church,” Religion News Service, August 17, 2020.

[9] Merrit Kennedy, “‘Pizzagate’ Gunman Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison,’” National Public Radio, June 22, 2017, available online (last visited August 27, 2020).

[10] Victoria Vanderzielfultz, “Conspiracy Theory Trends: QAnon,” HSDL Blog, August 4, 2020, available online (last visited August 27, 2020).

[11] See generally, Kevin Roose, Qanon Followers Are Hijacking the #SaveTheChildren Moveent, New York Times, August 12, 2020; Kaleigh Rogers, Trump ‘Fights’ Pedophilia. But the Group Has Made it Harder to Protect Kids, FiveThirtyEight, October 15, 2020, available online (last visited October 19, 2020).