The sexual predator is undoubtedly the most manipulative of all criminals. They come from all walks of life, demographics, and occupations. They come as trusted friends, family, and co-workers. They are welcomed into homes, introduced to children, and invited into families’ lives. Many people, professionals included, underestimate the pathology of these sexual perpetrators, thus allowing offenders to continue offending.
Perpetrators of sex crimes only allow people to see what they want them to see. They are intelligent, clever, and find vulnerabilities in victims.
How Offenders Access their Victims:
- Most perpetrators use non-force approaches
- They will entice children with gifts, attention, affection, activities or special relationships
- They may entrap them with a sense of obligation, guilt or fear
- They can be patient and skillful at grooming children and their families over a period of time
- If a child or parent becomes wary, they may discontinue their courting or may take steps to reassure the family
- Most do not act impulsively but will wait patiently for safe opportunities
- They may begin testing boundaries with an arm around a child’s shoulder, special compliments to check his or her response, and then proceed in small increments of touching or verbalizing over time. This is referred to as “grooming”.
- Secrecy is the offender’s major tool in securing and exploiting their victims.
Concerning Behavior in Adults:
- Provides unwarranted gifts, trips, affection, and excessive attention to a specific child or group of children
- Seeks isolated access to children
- Gets along with children better than adults
- Offers special privileges or leniency to a particular child
- Asks a child to keep secrets from parents about what they do when alone with one another
- Engages the child in activities that are not age-appropriate
- Encourages “play” that involves excessive or inappropriate bodily contact