Child Advocacy Child Sex Abuse

How Child Molesters Select & Gain Access to Their Victims

Why do we keep teaching our children about “stranger danger” when 90% of sexually abused children are exploited by someone in the immediate or extended family, or by someone close to the family?

How do child molesters gain access to their victims?

While some sexual abuse is purely opportunistic, most children are groomed and lured into situations where they are vulnerable to abuse.

Contrary to common “Stranger Danger” warnings, child molesters are rarely strangers; at least 90% of sexually abused children are exploited by someone in the child’s immediate or extended family, or by someone close to the family.

Common grooming strategies include:

1. Befriending parents, particularly single parents, to gain access to their children.

Ninety percent (90%) of sexually abused children are victimized by a parent, close family member or family friend, so there’s no need to “befriend” the parent(s), they’re already in your inner-circle.

2. Offering babysitting services to busy parents or guardians.

3. Taking jobs and participating in community events that involve children.

4. Becoming a guardian or foster parent.

5. Attending sporting events for children.

6. Offering to coach children’s sports.

7. Volunteering in youth organizations.

8. Offering to chaperone overnight trips.

9. Loitering in places children frequent – playgrounds, parks, malls, game arcades, sports fields, etc.

10. Befriending youngsters on social media (Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) and online gaming platforms.

When and where do most sexual assaults usually happen?

Most child sexual abuse occurs in the home of the victim, the home of the offender, or another residence.**

Eighty-one (81%) of all child sexual abuse occurs in one-on-one situations: one-offender/one-child.

Wherever youth are physically or virtually alone with someone is a potential place where they can be subjected to sexual misconduct or abuse.

With incidents involving juvenile offenders, 1 in 7 sexual assaults occurs on schooldays between 3pm-7pm, with a peak from 3-4pm, right after school. This speaks to the importance of safe after-school care and close supervision of multi-age groups of youngsters.

How do child molesters target their victims?

Early grooming efforts by sexual predators seek to determine if the child has a stable home life, or if the family is facing challenges like poverty, divorce, illness, drugs, homelessness, etc.

Children lacking stability at home are at higher risk for sexual abuse, as there is usually more access to the child and opportunities to abuse the child.

Child molesters will also target kids who are loners, or who look troubled or neglected. Youngsters who smoke, vape or use drugs and alcohol are seen as risk-seekers lacking adequate supervision, and therefore easy targets.

Single moms are often targeted, as they are more likely to be overwhelmed by parenting duties and vulnerable to offers to babysit and/or drive kids to school, practices, lessons and other activities.

Final Thoughts:

Child molesters are family members, relatives, neighbors, coaches, teachers, preachers, friends and our children’s peers. Knowing this – and knowing that adults cannot be with children every moment of every day – it is essential to talk openly with children about personal boundaries and personal safety.

Teach children, age-appropriately, how to recognize and evade the lures used for generations by sexual predators of every kind.

Thankfully, both children and adults are beginning to more readily report sexual abuse and harassment, saying boldly and loudly that these crimes are no longer acceptable.

Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Numbers By State (Child Welfare Information Gateway)

A listing of phone numbers by state to call and report child abuse.

Childhelp (1.800.4ACHILD)

Provides 24/7 assistance in 170 languages to adults, children and youth with information and questions regarding child abuse. All calls are anonymous and confidential. 


Source: https://childluresprevention.com. Accessed, October 14, 2019.

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