As we know by now, most children are sexually abused by someone they or their family knows. We always keep an eye on who is spending time with your children. Whether it's a family member, relative, friend, neighbor, coach, or anyone else around them, we should be watchful for behaviors that predators typically use when interacting with children (Defend Innocence, 2020).
1. Does any adult seem to prefer spending time with children more than adults? Is a lot of their free time spent with children?
2. Does anyone spend more time than normal with your child? If not, do they seem to want to?
3. Does anyone take an abnormal amount of pictures of children?
4. Is anyone especially interested in how children look or dress?
5. Does anyone tell sexualized or off-color jokes to or around children? Do they watch for the child's response? Do they use sexual terms freely?
6. Has anyone tried to play games like "pants-ing" your child, tried to go skinny dipping with your child, or invited them to a slumber party or to sleep in their bed?
7. Have they walked into your child's bedroom without knocking? Have they accidentally walked into the bathroom while your child was in there?
8. Does anyone touch children a lot? A lot of high-fiving or hugging? Do they kiss them a lot or ask them to sit on their lap a lot? Do they accidentally graze the private parts of children?
9. Does any adult text, email, or call your child a lot?
If you suspect someone in your child's life may be a predator, it time to make a plan. Find ways to limit or eliminate the time your child spends with that person. Talk to your child about sexual abuse. We have tips for talking with your child on our website dearperp.org. If you feel comfortable talking with the potential predator, consider having a conversation with them. Sometimes, just making them aware that you are aware is a deterrent. If you suspect abuse has already happened, get the authorities involved.
Being diligent about who spends time with your child can save a lot of heartache down the road.