What is a Child Predator? What are the Signs of a Child Predator?
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What is a Child Predator?
A child predator is also know as a sexual predator or child molester depending on their crime. They can also be called a pedophile. The definition for a child predator is a person (male or female) who seeks a sexual relationship with a child (a person under the legal age of consent).
This person metaphorically speaking, “hunts” the child down like a predator would hunt down a weaker prey, to seek sexual contact.
The predator either takes the child through sheer force or through power of persuasion.
What are the Different Kinds of Child Predators?
1. Pedophile is a name given to a person who is sexually attracted to children.
These child predators are either men or women who do not physically, have sexual contact with a child. They’re people who generally fantasize only.
Their preference is children over adults.
They will be the ones who are involved in child pornography.
2. The second type is a situational sexual abuser.
A situational sex abuser will have sex with a child if they can find an opportunity.
They will seek an opportunity or take one if it happens to arise. For example, a boyfriend who is a sexual predator may find an opportunity if the mother works a night shift.
They enjoy sex with both adults and children. They may also enjoy child pornography. They can be violent or persuasive to the child. They will kidnap a child if they find an opportunity. They are impulsive and may not plan things through.
3. The worst of the worst, is the child predator who desires to have sexual relations with children only, not adults.
Most of the time they seek younger children, children that have not started puberty yet. They have a “profile” of children that they seek. An example of a profile could be 8-10 year old girls or it may be boys under 6 years old. It could be children with a similar facial features. Sometimes, it is a certain race.
This grade of child predator will build trust with the child to enable the abuse process. The process of luring a child in is called “grooming.” They may kidnap children or not. They can kidnap a child by planning- such as studying a child’s habits, surroundings and all possible opportunities. Often times, these predators abuse the child for long periods of time. They are very intelligent and charming. They plan things out, wait patiently for the right time and strike only after a trusting relationship has been built.
Keep in mind, that these child predators may “appear” to be interested in adults when indeed it is just a lion in sheep’s clothing.
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What is Grooming a Child?
Grooming a child is when someone builds a relationship with a child through certain acts of kindness with the ill intentions of seeking sexual relations with them. They appear to be the child’s friend ONLY to eventually begin the abuse process.
Examples of Child Grooming
- Playing with the child (It’s all fun and games before the abuse)
- Becoming the child’s best friend (Acting like another child would towards your child)
- Giving presents (Toys, money, food and anything that builds the predator up as a loving, giving person)
- Words of affirmation (Loving words to make the child feel like a superstar)
- Physical Affection (hugs, holding hands, petting behaviors, kisses on the cheek) or anything else that offers special attention, love and affection.
A parent often misses when their child is being groomed.
The violator will often build a seemingly innocent friendship with both parent and/or child. The parents think that the person “loves kids,” “is so sweet,” or “really cares.” The child often thinks that too. Sex offenders are smart, charming and have a way with words. They understand the psychology of children as they are often child like themselves.
Single mothers think their boyfriends are great with her kids and would make an excellent dad. The boyfriend is building a grooming relationship with the parent and child. You make think he is just so loving and treats my children like his own. They’re always snuggling and he loves to read her books at night. (Just an example)
Your next door neighbor is always giving your son toys and inviting him to come play and read children’s books. You agree because he is just so sweet to your son. Sounds like a nice guy right? Not always. That could be how he is grooming your child. (Just another example.)
The babysitter is always kissing and snuggling with your child on the couch when you get home. Innocent? Yes, maybe but maybe not.
Grooming ultimately is using the power of persuasion to build a relationship with a child where the child will not “tell” when they start being sexually abused.
“You can’t tell anyone, this is our secret because we are best friends,” or “If you tell anyone your parents won’t love you anymore and you’ll be in very big trouble. They will think you are bad and send you away!”
Those are just two examples of the things a child being groomed would be told.
Grooming a child is successful because the relationship is already well established before the child sexual abuse begins.
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What are the Characteristics of a Child Predator?
Studies have shown that there are some key components that child predators have in common. These links are called dynamic risk factors.
How can you tell if someone is a child predator? The only way is to pay attention to the qualities that they all have in common.
How Can You Tell if Someone is a Child Predator?
What does a child predator look like?
They look the same as everyone else. They are not the stereotypical creepy man wearing a hood.
Some criminal cases have found that even married couples can be child sexual offenders. Women can be child sex offenders.
It doesn’t matter who they say they are, what they are wearing or even what their social status is; anyone can be a child predator.
In the news lately, multiple teachers have been found guilty for sexually abusing their students!
I’m sure that none of those parents ever thought they were putting their children right in the hands of a predator!
Teachers, tutors, counselors, coaches, librarians, police officers all have been found guilty for child sex crimes.
Sometimes a predator chooses these career choices just to gain authority and access over children.
We are always teaching our children to respect authority and not question them which only makes it easier.
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Signs of a Child Predator
First and foremost, do not believe the myth that abusers are always strangers.
CHILD PREDATORS ARE MORE OFTEN PEOPLE THE CHILD KNOWS WELL.
One study showed that 90% of sexually abused children were hurt by someone they knew!
Yes, only a mere 10% were abused by complete strangers. This makes “stranger danger” only the FIRST STEP of teaching our children how to be safe.
It’s not just strangers we need to worry about; it’s aunts, uncles, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, cousins, grandmas and grandpas.
Child predators, whether they are pedophiles, situational sex abusers or full blown child sex offenders; they put themselves in a key position in society where they can continually exploit their position they have access over children. Teachers, coaches, police, day care workers; these are all examples of situations where sex offenders have the means and motive to sexually abuse children.
The child already knows and trusts them. They already know the child and understand the way the child thinks or acts making it easier to use their authority over them against them. Generally, they at least know a little about the parents too. Is the parent attentive? Is the child one who lies a lot? Is the child timid and easily lied to?
Most child predators prey on their easiest target; the troubled child, the vulnerable child, the child of a single parent, the depressed child, the child who lacks a good role model.
Most child perpetrators go for a very long time without being caught.
Have you ever heard a story on the news where a child perpetrator has been caught because of one child finally speaking out, only to find that there were actually 20 other children before that one?
This brings me to my first characteristic of a child predator. An adult who continually seeks out specific children.
Usually, but not always they stick to a certain type of child that they are attracted to.
Their profile may be young girls under 8 with brown hair. It may be just girls under 8 in general. It may be a certain demographic of children.
Bottom line is, child sex offenders seek a profile or certain group of children and stick to it.
Again, they put themselves in a position where it is easy to find opportunity to abuse their preferred group of children.
Another common characteristic is a lack of remorse.
They know that what they are doing is considered wrong yet there is no regret. They go to extremes to cover up their sin so they don’t get caught yet they don’t always see it as wrong or have the will power to stop. They are impulsive and lack self control.
Many of the dynamic risk factors show up in other aspects of their lives as well.
Following is a list of some things that are considered dynamic risk factors. Watch out for these things in people you suspect might be a predator. Watch for these things in people who are close to your children!
- An interest in bondage or deviant type sexual desires.
- Ongoing relationship problems with friends, family and lovers. Relationships often do not work out because they are described as controlling, isolating, prone to anger, physically or verbally abusive.
- Unmarried. (Because their relationships do not work out)
- Anger issues, impulsive behavior, anti-social.
- An unusually high identification to children.(Child like behavior or attitude. Obsessed with children’s toys, cartoons. They want to be treated like children. They may have sexual desires of being dominated or treated like a child. They can be extremely immature.)
- Addicted to pornography or heavily preoccupied with sexual matters. They compare a lot of things to sex, jokes are sexual in nature, they can link most things to sex. Even animals can be sexualized.
- Alcohol or substance abuse. When someone is under the influence they are not able to use their discrimination or hide their “tells” as easily. They also do not have as much self-control.
- Lack of Remorse- They make joke about evil things and brush them off as not a big deal.
- Discernment– Some people can feel the evil of a person. Pay attention when your gut is telling you something is off with a person. Listen to your discernment. It may be the only obvious sign at first.
If you suspect someone may be a predator or suspect someone is grooming your child refer back to these signs.
OFTEN the signs are subtle and hidden in their behaviors of everyday life like in jokes they say or the way they watch your child play. LISTEN to your discernment!
Sex offenders are not who you would think, they are usually the person you would suspect the least because they hide behind their charm. It is true!
They are friendly, outgoing, kind, thoughtful and because of that they can abuse many children before they get caught.
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What Makes a Child Vulnerable to Child Predators?
There are certain characteristics that make a child more vulnerable to become victims of child predators.
Your child may fall into one or more of these categories.
If your child does be sure to be extra aware to what they’re doing and whom they’re doing it with.
Keep your eye on the type of people that are drawn to them.
Studies show children who ______________are more likely to become victims to grooming, sexual abuse and online predators.
- Children with low self-esteem.They think negatively of themselves. Maybe they worry that no one likes them, they’re bullied by others, they haven’t been able to have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Children with low self-esteem have tendencies to have Cinderella Complex. The Cinderella Complex is when a person only finds value in what others think of them. They are dependent on others to take care of them and give them value.
- Children of single parents.When a child is missing a steady role model like a father for example; they seek what they’re missing. They find males or other adults that replace the spot in their heart that their father should fill.
- Troubled/Vulnerable Children. There could be a history of substance abuse or physical abuse in the family. This also applies to children who have been in foster care or been adopted out.
- Children who suffer from depression, anxiety, bi-polar, mental retardation ect. Children with mental illnesses are 10 times more likely to become victims of abuse.
- Children with absent or mostly absent parents; Children need attention and reassurance. When children are left alone too often, they feel lonely and reach out for the attention they are missing.
- Children in poverty-stricken communities or gang neighborhoods.These children have a much higher chance of falling victim to all types of abuse and criminal activity.
- Children who have been abused before.Kids stick to what they know. It’s a fact that children reflect what they have grown up in.
- Children who are very sociable.These kids are wonderful to be around but they also sometimes socialize with the wrong people. They very trusting and want to be everyone’s friend.
- Children who lack borders and boundaries.They cannot always tell when they or someone else is crossing the line from friendly to over friendly.
- Those who lack healthy relationships with others.
- Children whose parents don’t know where they are.
These kids can easily be lead to places and people that don’t have the best intentions.
- Children who do drugs or drink alcohol.
- Child of parents who are in abusive relationships themselves or change relationships often. The more the parent changes relationships the more likely the child is to be abuse by one of the mother/father’s partners. If you are in an abusive relationship- they are more likely to seek an abusive relationship when they are older or become abusive themselves.
Now that you know the basics of what a child predator is and what to watch out for. Click my link down below to see my entire child safety series- dedicated to keeping your child safe in all areas of life.
How Do Child Predators Find Children?
Does your child have a social media account? If the answer is yes, which for 95% of the population it is. Then your child is at risk.
65% of child predators use the child’s social media account to find children and study them. They study what a child likes. They study the child’s status…is the child insecure? Needs attention? Vulnerable? Depressed? A child predator find the games your child like to play. If they are into sports or not.
Child predators also use opportunity. If the parents are home often or not. When they see a child who is often walking alone.
Want to learn more about this? I have an excellent post on child predators online. It goes in to much deeper detail about the way a predator thinks and uses opportunity to find children. You can find it here.
Here are some excellent ADULT resources on Child Predator Education
I, Pedophile is a disturbingly sympathetic look in to the mental battle that a pedophile goes through.
The Pedophile Hunters is a documentary about how law enforcement agencies find child predators. It will help you learn exactly how predators think. Agents go under cover as children and lure in predators, ultimately leading to their capture.
Here is another one called While No One Is Watching
Hiding In Plain Sight is a real life story of a man who went on a 30 year reign abusing children.
Resources to teach your children about predators.
Abduction Prevention Pack is perfect to help your children be more aware, making them less likely to be kidnapped.
Stranger Safety is an excellent DVD for children of all ages to learn the concept of strangers and child predators.
“I Said NO!” is a book written from a kid to kid perspective. It teaches your child how to keep their private parts…private.
This book series is great for older children. It teaches them about how sex is supposed to be…loving and not forced. It teaches God’s design for sex.
Good Pictures, Bad Pictures is great for today’s children. They are exposed to pornography in so many ways. Help them to know how to stay safe. 1 in 5 children have and will receive a sexual proposal online. What will your child do?
They also have Good Pictures, Bad Pictures Jr. made especially for younger children.
Do you Know there is a way you can search and find any child predators that live in your area?
Down below is an excellent link to check your neighborhood and surrounding towns to find sex offenders near you.
Type in your address and go!
It will bring up a map with little pin points on it. Hold your cursor over the pin points and it tells you what type of sex crime the offender is guilty of.
It brings up a picture, date of birth, previous addresses, exact charges and even special markings they have.
If you click on the type of abuse it lists for that offender, it will tell you exactly what your states law is to be qualified as that type of abuse.
Disclaimer: If you ever suspect someone is a child predator, get in contact with your local law enforcement agency and they will direct you on what to do.
Keep your children...
Click Image Below to See Entire Child Safety Series.
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