Education is key to preventing child sex abuse

Rick Rogers

Neosho (Mo.) Police Sgt. Peter Russell recently gave a talk that highlighted the usual behavioral patterns of sex offenders and what to look for.

Sex offenders have the following traits

- Most offenders commit multiple crimes against multiple types of victims with whom they have varying types of relationships.

- Sex offenders rarely commit one type of offense. Many offenders have no official criminal record or sex crime history of any kind.

- The majority of offenses (80 to 95 percent) 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.

- 60 percent of convicted sex offenders are on probation or parole.

Adult behavior that may signal sexual interest in children

- Refuses to let a child set any of his or her own limitations.

- Insists on hugging, touching, kissing, tickling, wrestling or holding a child even when the child does not want this affection.

- Manages to get time along or insists on time along 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.

- 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.

- Encourages silence and secrets with children.

- Talks about sexual fantasies with children and is not clear about what’s OK with children.

- Looks at child pornography.

Safety tips for your family

- Give quality love, time and attention to your child so that he or she won’t look for it elsewhere.

- Know the people who are involved with your child who are in a position of trust, or even a relative or close friend.

- Be aware of an adult or older child who spends a large amount of time with your child, or seems to be focused on your child.

- Be aware if your child is avoiding a particular person that they used to be comfortable with.

- Be aware if your child is spending a lot of time with, or talking about, an adult or someone older who is not a parent or guardian.

- If you suspect that your child has been abused, ask him or her in a caring, nonthreatening way. Do not accuse.

- Let your child know that he or she does not have to keep secrets. Many times shame will keep a child silent.

Neosho Daily News