Child predators are a sad reality that most of us try to escape from, yet fail to. What we hear on the news is sadly true as the number of juvenile sex offenders is on a constant rise, and it is high time that we do something about it.
Child predators are everywhere, and it is important for you to be aware of facts so that you can keep your children safe.
While most predators are males, 10% of juvenile sexual abuse cases involve females as well. This means you cannot teach your children to be aware of one specific gender as the issue is clearly not gender based.
Parents take several steps to safeguard their children, but sadly we haven’t been able to eliminate the problem, despite there being strict laws in place.
While background checks and criminal record searches are common to judge a person’s character, surprisingly, 80% of predators are believed to have a good background.
A recent case in Naperville highlighted this major loophole in the system when a volunteer basketball coach, who had passed the school’s background check, was caught in the act. This and several other similar incidents shows how there is a dire need for parents to be careful in order to keep their children safe.
First of all, let’s talk about why it is common for sex offenders to have a clean background:
Not All Cases are Reported
Only 30% sexual abuse cases are reported, this means 7 out of 10 offenders are never caught or reported. They are out there living a normal life and nobody knows about it due to people being apprehensive of reporting such an incident.
You will not know of a person’s criminal history if the crimes they committed were never reported, and thus never show up in a criminal record. At times, the child is never able to tell his or her parents. Furthermore, parents may decide not to go the legal way. This is a major problem that has several side effects. Remember that 14% of offenders are believed to commit another similar offense within five years. If we want this number to reduce, we need to be quick in taking an action.
They Change Identity
It is common for predators to change identity, a move that allows them to hide their true background and motives. While a thorough background and criminal record check may enable you to find such details, not many people are able to dig deep and hence fall victim to their ploy.
It is very important to be aware of who you let get close to your child. You should let your child know about the importance of safety and how to stay safe, especially when they are surrounded by strangers.
Here are some tips:
Do You Really Know the People You Think You Know?
According to reports, 60% of juvenile sexual abuse cases include offenders that are already known to the child. These include family members, friends, and even domestic help. In fact, even coaches and teachers are often found to be the culprit.
While it is important to be careful of strangers, the fact is that people around you can be equally dangerous. Remember that offenders look and act just like anybody else. You must teach your child to be wary of anyone who appears to have odd behaviors, even if the person is not a stranger.
Let Your Child Know What’s Right and What Isn’t
Make sure your child understands what safety is and how to behave in public. Your child should also be aware of the concept of ‘sexual abuse’. Children are often not aware of what’s happening to them, which is a major reason why offenders often go without being caught.
In fact, reports suggest that children who have sex education are less likely to hide such instances from others. Teach your child about sexual abuse and the importance to talk about it. Your child should know that it is okay to yell or ask for help if they ever feel unsafe.
Do not instill fear in your child, but make him or her understand the importance of safety.
According to the Advances in Clinical Child Psychology journal, over 50% of sex offenders have been a victim in the past. This simply means that today’s victim can be tomorrow’s offenders.
We need to curb this problem if we want a secure future for our children, and it is only possible by increasing awareness and knowing safety tips.