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Things to Know- Warning Signs

Child Molesters -- Everything a Parent Must Know!!


Things to Know
Facts About Sex Offenders
  • In 2003, there were approximately 455,000 registered sex offenders in the United States.
  • Most sex offenders (80- 95%) assault people they know.
  • At least half of convicted child molesters report that they also have sexually assaulted an adult.
  • Over 80% of convicted adult rapists report that they have molested children.
  • Approximately one-third of sex offenders report assaulting both males and females. Research shows that most convicted sex offenders have committed many, many assaults before they are caught.
  • Most sex offenders report that they have committed multiple types of sexual assault (sexual assault crimes include exhibitionism, voyeurism, oral sex, vaginal penetration, attempted penetration, fondling, and incest)
  • Over two-thirds of offenders who reported committing incest also said they assaulted victims outside the family.
  • Some studies of victims have shown less than 30% of sex crimes are reported to law enforcement.
  • Young victims who know or are related to the perpetrator are least likely to report the crime to authorities.
Sex Offender Characteristics
  • Most offenders commit multiple crimes against multiple types of victims with whom they have varying types of relationships (adults, children, male, female, known and unknown). This behavior is known as "crossover".
  • Sex offenders rarely commit just one type of offense. Many offenders have NO official criminal record or sex crime history of any kind.
  • There is no such thing as a "typical" sex offender, however, all tend to be manipulative, deceptive, and secretive. Sex offenders come from all backgrounds, ages, income levels, and professions.
  • The majority of offenses (80 - 95%) are committed by someone the victim knows.
  • Sexual deviancy often begins in adolescence.
  • Sex offenders usually do not commit their crimes impulsively. They usually carefully plan their crimes.
  • Approximately 4% of sexual assaults are committed by women.
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Behaviors to Watch for When Adults Are With Children
 
Have you ever seen someone playing with a child and felt uncomfortable with it? Maybe you thought, "I'm just over-reacting," or, "He/She doesn't really mean that."?If you are uncomfortable, but don't see these signs, be sure to trust your instincts and ask questions.? Below is a list of behaviors that might be cause for concern.
 
Do you know an adult who:
  • Makes others uncomfortable by ignoring social, emotional or physical boundaries or limits?
  • Refuses to let a child set any of his or her own limits? Uses teasing or belittling language to keep a child from setting a limit?
  • Insists on hugging, touching, kissing, tickling, wrestling with or holding a child even when the child does not want this physical contact or attention?
  • Turns to a child for emotional or physical comfort by sharing personal or private information or activities,
    normally shared with adults??
  • Frequently points out sexual images or tells dirty or suggestive jokes with children present?
  • Exposes a child to adult sexual interactions without apparent concern?
  • Has secret interactions with teens or children (e.g. games, sharing drugs, alcohol, or sexual material) or spends excessive time emailing, text messaging or calling children or youth?
  • Is overly interested in the sexuality of a particular child or teen (e.g., talks repeatedly about the child's developing body or interferes with normal teen dating)?
  • Insists on or manages to spend uninterrupted time alone with a child?
  • Seems "too good to be true, i.e. frequently baby sits different children for free; takes children on special outings alone; buys children gifts or gives them money for no apparent reason?
  • Frequently walks in on children/teens in the bathroom?
  • Allows children or teens to consistently get away with inappropriate behaviors?
If you answered "yes" to some of these questions, talk to your child immediately. Educate them on the signs and symptoms of child molestation. Teach them it is okay to say NO -- to run -- and tell; and explain to them what inappropriate touching is.
 
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Signs That an Adult May Be At-Risk to Harm a Child
 
Someone you care about may be acting in ways that worry or confuse you. The behaviors below may indicate a possible risk of sexual abuse to a child, but may also be a way for this adult to ask for help. Many people with sexual behavior problems wish that someone had asked them what was going on or had told them where to call to get help. The following are signs/symptoms of this:
 
Do you know someone who:
  • Misses or ignores social cues about others' personal or sexual limits and boundaries?
  • Often has a "special" child friend, maybe a different one from year to year?
  • Spends most of his/her spare time with children and shows little interest in spending time with someone their own age?
  • Encourages silence and secrets in children?
  • Links sexuality and aggression in language or behavior, e.g. sexualized threats or insults, like "whore" or "slut"?
  • Makes fun of children's body parts, describes children with sexual words like "stud" or "sexy" or talks again and again about the sexual activities of children or teens?
  • Masturbates so often that it gets in the way of important day-to-day activities?
  • Has an interest in sexual fantasies involving children and seems unclear about what's appropriate with children?
  • Was physically, sexually or emotionally mistreated or abused as a child and has not adequately dealt with the possible effects?
  • Has been known to make poor decisions while misusing drugs or alcohol?
  • Looks at child pornography or downloads/views Internet pornography and is not willing to show whether children are involved?
  • Asks adult partners to dress or act like a child or teen during sexual activity?
  • Justifies behavior or finds reasons to explain poor choices or harmful acts; blames others as a way to refuse responsibility for behaviors?
  • Minimizes hurtful or harmful behaviors when confronted; denies harmfulness of actions or words despite apparent impact?
Behavior to Watch
Adult Behavior that may signal Sexual Interest in Children
 Remember: Children are most often molested by someone they know, or whom the parents know. Do you know an adult or child who:
  • Refuses to let a child set any of his or her own limits?
  • Insists on hugging, touching, kissing, tickling, wrestling with or holding a child even when the child does not want affection?
  • Is overly interested in the sexuality of a particular child or teen (e.g. talks repeatedly about the child's developing body or interferes with normal teen dating)?
  • Manages to get time alone or insists on time alone with a child without interruptions?
  • Spends most of his / her spare time with children and has little interest in spending time with someone their own age?
  • Regularly offers to babysit many different children for free or takes children on overnight outings alone?
  • Buys children expensive gifts or gives them money for no apparent reason?
  • Frequently walks in on children / teens in the bathroom?
  • Allows children or teens to consistently get away with inappropriate behaviors?
  • Talks again and again about the sexual activities of children or teens?
  • Talks about sexual fantasies with children and is not clear about what's okay with children?
  • Encourages silence and secrets in a child?
  • Asks adult partners to dress or act like a child or teen during sexual activity?
  • Often has a "special" child friend, maybe a different one from year to year?
  • Spends most spare time on activities involving children or teens, not adults?
  • Makes fun of a child's body parts, calls a child sexual names?
 
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Signs That another Child or Adolescent May Be At-Risk to Harm Another Child
 
As much as one-third of all sexual abuse of children is committed by someone under the age of 18. Children, particularly younger children, may engage in inappropriate interactions without understanding the hurtful impact it has on others.? For this reason, it may be more helpful to talk about a child's sexually "harmful" behavior rather than sexually "abusive" behavior.
 
Do you know a child or adolescent who:
  • May experience typical gestures of friendliness or affection as sexual?
  • Explores his or her own natural sexual curiosity with younger children or those of differing size, status, ability, or power?
  • Seeks out the company of younger children and spends an unusual amount of time with them rather than with peers??
  • Takes younger children to "secret" places or hideaways or plays "special" games with them (e.g. playing doctor, undressing or touching games, etc.)?
  • Insists on physical contact with a child when the child resists the attention?
  • Was physically, sexually or emotionally abused and has not been offered adequate resources and support for recovery?
  • Links sexuality and aggression in language or behavior (e.g. makes sexual threats or insults)?
  • Seems to be crying for help, i.e. behaves as if they want to be caught; leaves "clues" or acts in ways that seem likely to provoke a discussion about sexual issues?
  • Tells you they do not want to be alone with a child, or group of children, or becomes anxious about being
    with a particular young person?
  • Is unable to control inappropriate sexual behaviors involving another child after being told to stop?
  • Engages in sexually harassing behavior?
  • Shares alcohol, drugs, or sexual material with younger children or teens?
  • Views sexual images of children on the Internet or elsewhere?
  • Forces sexual interaction, including direct contact and non-contact (like exposing genitals) on another adolescent or child?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, consider talking to the young person and seeking help.? If you would like more information or guidance on options for next steps, call our confidential, toll-free,
national Helpline at 1-888-PREVENT (1-888-773-8368), M-F 9am - 6pm Eastern time.
 
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Age-Appropriate or Developmentally-Expected Sexual Behavior
 
The chart below shows some examples of common sexual behavior that we might anticipate seeing in our children as they pass through different stages of development from pre-school to adolescence. Remember that each child
develops at his or her own pace. Not every child will show all these behaviors at the same stages, or necessarily experience any of these behaviors at all.? The chart also describes kinds of behavior that are less common in a given developmental stage, and which may give cause for concern.
 
PRESCHOOL AGE (0 to 5 yrs.)
Common: Sexual language relating to differences in body parts, bathroom talk, pregnancy and birth. Masturbation at home and in public. Showing and looking at private body parts.
Uncommon: Discussion of specific sexual acts or explicit sexual language. Adult-like sexual contact with other children.
 
SCHOOL-AGE (6-12 years)
This group may include both pre-pubescent children and children who have already entered puberty, when hormonal changes are likely to trigger an increase in sexual awareness and interest.
 
Pre-pubescent children
Common: Questions about relationships and sexual behavior, menstruation and pregnancy. Experimentation with same-age children, often during games, kissing, touching, exhibitionism and role-playing. Masturbation in private.
Uncommon: Adult-like sexual interactions, discussing specific sexual acts, masturbating in public.
 
After Puberty Begins
Common: Increased curiosity about sexual materials and information, questions about relationships and sexual behavior, using sexual words and discussing sexual acts, particularly with peers. Increased experimenting including open-mouthed kissing, body-rubbing, fondling. Masturbating in private.
Uncommon: Regular adult-like sexual behavior, including oral/genital contact and intercourse; masturbating in public.
 
ADOLESCENCE (13 to 16)
Common: Questions about decision making, social relationships, and sexual customs; masturbation in private; experimenting between adolescents of the same age, including open-mouthed kissing, fondling and body rubbing, oral/genital contact. Voyeuristic behaviors are common in this age group. Intercourse occurs among approximately one third of children in this age group.
Uncommon: Masturbating in public. Sexual interest directed toward much younger children.
 
 
Child Sexual Abuse Includes Touching and Non-Touching Behaviors
 
Harmful touching behaviors include:
  • Touching
    a child's genitals (penis, testicles, vulva, breasts, or anus) for
    sexual pleasure or other unnecessary reason.
  • Making a child touch someone else's genitals, or playing sexual ("pants-down") games.
  • Putting
    objects or body parts (like fingers, tongue or a penis) inside the
    vulva or vagina, in the mouth, or in the anus of a child for sexual
    pleasure or other unnecessary reason.
Harmful non-touching behaviors include:
  • Showing pornography to a child.
  • Exposing a person's genitals to a child.
  • Photographing a child in sexual poses.
  • Encouraging a child to watch or hear sexual acts either in person or digital, computer or video images.
  • Watching
    a child undress or use the bathroom, often without the child's
    knowledge (known as voyeurism or being a "Peeping Tom").
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Behavioral Warning Signs of Possible Child Sexual Abuse
 
Some of these behavioral signs can show up at other stressful times in a child's life such as divorce, the death of a family member, friend or pet, or when there are problems in school, as well as when abuse is involved. Any one sign doesn't mean the child was abused, but several of them suggest you should begin asking questions.
 
Do you notice some of the following behaviors in children you know?
  • Fear of certain people or places (e.g., a child may not want to be left alone with a baby-sitter, a friend, a relative, or some other child or adult; or a child who is usually talkative and cheery may become quiet and distant when around a certain person).
  • Nightmares, trouble sleeping, or other extreme fears without an obvious explanation.
  • Play, writing, drawings or dreams may include sexual or frightening images.
  • Spacing out at odd times, seems distracted or distant, "checked out."
  • Loss of appetite, or trouble eating or swallowing or sudden changes in eating habits.
  • Sudden mood swings: rage, fear, anger, insecurity or withdrawal.
  • Leaves "clues" that seem likely to provoke a discussion about sexual issues.
  • Stomach illness all of the time with no identifiable reason.
  • An older child behaving like a younger child, such as bed-wetting or thumb sucking.
  • Adult-like sexual activities with toys or other children, such as simulating sex with dolls or asking other children/siblings to behave sexually.
  • New words for private body parts.
  • Shows resistance to bathing, toileting, or removing clothes even at appropriate situations.
  • Refusing to talk about a "secret" he/she has with an adult or older child.
  • Talking about a new older friend.
  • Suddenly having money, toys or other gifts for no apparent reason.
  • Cutting, burning or otherwise intentionally harming herself or himself, i.e. drug use, alcohol abuse, sexual promiscuity, running away from home.
  • Has negative self image, i.e. thinks of self or body as repulsive, dirty or bad.
 
Physical Warning Signs of Possible Child Sexual Abuse
 
Does a child close to you have:
  • Unexplained bruises, redness, or bleeding of the child's genitals, anus, or mouth?
  • Pain at the genitals, anus, or mouth?
  • Genital sores or milky fluids in the genital area?
If you said "yes" to any of these examples bring your child to a doctor immediately to be examined! Your doctor can help you understand what may be happening and test for sexually transmitted diseases. If you have any questions about these or other signs and symptoms, please call our confidential, toll-free national Helpline (1-888-PREVENT), M-F 9am - 6 pm Eastern time.
 
Behavioral and Physical Warning Signs that a Child has been Abused:
Any one sign does not mean that the child was abused. Some of the behaviors below can show up during stressful times in a child's life, as well as when abuse occurs. If you see several of these signs in a child you know well, please begin to ask questions.
  • Nightmares, trouble sleeping, fear of the dark, or other sleeping problems.
  • Extreme fear of "monsters".
  • Spacing out at times.
  • Loss of appetite, or trouble eating or swallowing.
  • Sudden mood swings: rage, fear, anger, or withdrawl.
  • Fear of certain people or places. For example: a child may not want to be left alone with a baby-sitter, a friend, a relative, or some other child or adult; or a child who is usually talkative and cheery may become quiet and distant when around a certain person.
  • Stomach illness all of the time with no identifiable reason.
  • An older child behaving like a younger child, such as bed-wetting or thumb-sucking.
  • Sexual activities with toys or other children, such as simulating sex with dolls or asking other children / siblings to behave sexually.
  • New words for private body parts.
  • Refusing to talk about a "secret" he or she has with an adult or older child.
  • Talking about a new older friend.
  • Suddenly having money.
  • Cutting or burning herself or himself as an adolescent.
 
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Safety Tips - Talking to Children
What To Say When Talking to Your Children:
  • Avoid scary details. Include general information when speaking to children. You know more than your child needs to know. Use language that is honest and age-appropriate (e.g. "there are people who do bad things to children").
  • If your children could possibly have contact with a registered sex offender, you should show your children the sex offender's photo. In a manner that does not incite panic: instruct your children to avoid contact with the offender, even if the offender's offenses of conviction does not involve an offense against a child. Instruct them to avoid being in the vicinity of the offender's residence or workplace.
  • Encourage your children to tell you if the sex offender initiates contact with them. Review the public safety materials with your children.
  • Encourage your children to tell you about any contact from any other person who makes them feel uncomfortable. It is important to teach your children about appropriate and inappropriate contact and to encourage regular discussion about their interactions with other people.
  • Teach your children: DON'T take rides from strangers; DON'T harass or visit any sex offender's home or yard; DO tell a safe adult if anyone acts inappropriately toward them (e.g. creepy, too friendly, threatening, offering gifts in a secret way, or touching them); DO RUN, SCREAM, and GET AWAY if someone is bothering them; DON'T keep secrets; DON'T assist strangers; DON'T go places alone; DO ask questions and DO talk about any uncomfortable feelings or interactions.
  • Make it a habit to LISTEN to your children and to believe them. If a child feels listened to and believed about small everyday things, they are more likely to share the big scary things with you. Be sensitive to changes in your child's behavior. Pay attention to your child's feelings.



Visit: Dreamcatchers for Abused Children for more information.
www.dreamcatchersforabusedchildren.com
 

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