Everyone in the community has a role in the protection of children regardless of whether or not they are parents or guardians of children. Each of us needs to be aware of the daily opportunities to keep children from becoming victims of sexual predators.
What is child sexual abuse?
Child sexual abuse can be many things and it happens to both boys and girls from birth to 18 every hour of every single day. It includes any form of vaginal or anal intercourse, contact with genitals with a body part or an object, all forms of oral sex, masturbation or instructions to masturbate, flashing, filming or photographing children in a sexually explicit way, involving children in any form of prostitution. Keep in mind that many of these forms of sexual abuse can and do take place on the Internet as well as in our local communities.
If you are a parent or guardian of children, I urge you to check the criminal background on anyone who will have access to your children. This includes, day care providers, teachers, instructors, tutors, coaches, bus drivers, and the parents of your child’s friends. If you have a housekeeper, handyman, contractor, driver, or someone else performing any services in your home, check them out before hiring them.
Reporting Child Sexual Abuse
I am constantly amazed at the number of people that I know and the ones I meet on the Internet that know of a child being sexually abused or know of a child sexual predator and do nothing–absolutely nothing to stop it. I listen to them tell me that they do not want to get involved, they don’t know who to call or they are not aware that sexual abuse is a crime in all 50 states. I urge you to put aside all excuses and do something to protect not just the child you know that is being abused but the hundreds of others the perpetrator has abused or will abuse in the future if you don’t take a stand and do what you know is right.
Here are some tips to report an offender or knowledge of a victim in your community:
- Do not confront the abuser yourself.
- Do not attempt to question the victim yourself.
- Start with local law enforcement or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
- If you know the offender, contact police, sheriff or other law enforcement in the area where he or she lives or where the abuse took place.