Did you know?
It is a crime not to report sexual offences against children to the police. If it is found later that you knew, you are an accomplice. You can go to jail for not reporting. The need to protect children has become even more significant in this time of child trafficking. Parents and guardians need to always be alert, listen to children and be analytic to any suspicious behaviour from adults around children (including family members/friends).
Have you heard of the term “child grooming”? What is child grooming?
Grooming is a form of abuse that involves manipulating someone until they are isolated, dependent and more vulnerable to exploitation. Child grooming is when an older person builds a relationship, trust and emotional connection with a child under the age of 18 so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them. Children and young people who are groomed can be sexually abused, exploited or trafficked. Anybody can be a groomer, no matter their age, gender or race. Sometimes parents can also trust the person, and so do not suspect anything is wrong. Child grooming can happen anywhere and by anybody.
Some behaviour to look out for:
• Adults forming special relationships with children – showing a special interest in a child’s looks, giving special attention or gifts and even taking excessive pictures of a child.
• Ask children to share what they discuss with other adults – perpetrators test their boundaries by telling sexual jokes to children playing sexualized games, e.g. strip games.
• Teach children to report adults that invade their privacy – entering child’s rooms or restrooms where children are expected to have privacy.
• Teach children to report any touching – it can begin with a hug and then progresses to kisses, sitting on the lap, and inappropriate touching (private parts).
• Remind children to report any intimidation from others – children often feel intimated and so don’t tell their parents about the abuse. The perpetrator can make children feel guilty or embarrassed to talk (‘No one will believe you’) or threaten to harm loved ones (‘I will kill your mother’).
• Check your child’s phones all the time – some adults can share sexually explicit material with children in order to normalize sex, showing pictures and videos to children. Perpetrators will encourage the child to keep everything secret – online chats and messaging.
• Trust your gut – if something feels suspicious, it usually is. Do something and save a child! Keeping children safe and free from harm – a parental role we all share as adults!