How do you identify a pedophile? A pedophile can be anyone around you, and there is no cut and dry profile for a ‘typical’ pedophile. The majority of pedophiles are male, but there is an increasing number of females being convicted as pedophiles. As a parent, it is your responsibility to keep an eye on all of your child’s interactions with others. What can you do to decrease your child’s chances of becoming a pedophile’s next victim? Here are a few common characteristics of pedophiles as they are very skilled at deception and grooming a child.
1. First, pedophiles are very patient. Most pedophiles will preplan their sexual abuse of a child. They will spend weeks, even months, learning everything they can about the child’s family life, their schedule and their likes and dislikes.
2. Pedophiles talk and spend time with parents as a way to gain access to a child. They usually find a way to interact with children that is non-threatening. For example, they could be your child’s sports coach, the pest control man, babysitter, neighbor, lawn guy, teacher, pastor or any adult the child deals with or sees on a regular basis. They will interact with children as if they are adults.
3. Pedophiles will test a child to see how they react to people touching them. It’ll be harmless at first like a pat on the back that progresses to gently rubbing their back with time. If they see the child is not reacting to their initial touches, then they will proceed with their plan to start grooming them.
4. They usually target lonely children or children of super busy parents. Pedophiles are very good at being able to ingratiate themselves with the parents to appear caring and trustworthy. The parents let their guard down and let the child have alone time with the predator (such as - short trips to the store, babysit for a few hours). Or perhaps a sports coach is offering extra alone time with your child to develop their skills. This is the beginning. Once the pedophile has regular unsupervised access to the child, the grooming process of plying the child with presents and teaching them to keep secrets begins. Grooming takes time, but please understand pedophiles are very patient and smart. During this timeframe, they are learning the best techniques to control your child.
5. Question your child thoroughly if they start to come home with ‘presents’ from another adult or older child. Pedophiles have been known to train older kids, which they have previously molested, to recruit younger children for them. The older kids go along with it because they want to keep receiving the ‘gifts’.
6. Finally, finally check to see if any pedophiles live in your local neighborhood. Go to the U.S. Department of Justice National Sex Offender Database – www.nsopw.gov/en-US). This website isn’t to be used to harass pedophiles; this is so you, as the parent, will know who is living in your neighborhood and may be trying to get close to your child.
Some of the most important things you can do as a parent to protect your child seem very simple, but they are effective. Supervise your child closely. Know who his friends are, where they live and what their parents do for a living. If they’re in sports, make sure the coach has had a background check run on him, and be sure to go to your child’s practice and watch them. Don’t just drop your child off! This is a pedophiles dream scenario. The most important thing you can do to protect your child is love them and make sure they feel your support and you are there for them. It’s the children who don’t get enough love and support at home that are most vulnerable to being victimized.