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Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Video Series: Child Predators

Posted by Sandra On August - 30 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

CHILD PREDATOR: 3-PART VIDEO SERIES (see below)

child+predators+monitor

Child Predators – Part 1: Reporting child sexual abuse

It’s estimated that 90-percent of child sexual abuse victims know the offender, either through family ties or through their community. But in an increasingly digital age, child predators are hiding behind the anonymity and legal grey areas of the Internet to post and trade child porn in addition to soliciting potential victims. The numbers are startling: one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before reaching adulthood according to the Centers for Disease Control. By that measures, the Department of Justice estimates 30 to 40-percent are sexually abused by family members, and half by someone they know and trust. READ MORE HERE

VIDEO

Child Predators – Part 2: There’s an app for that

The phrase “there’s an app for that” covers just about everything from online shopping to banking. But if there’s an app, there are thousands if not millions of users on board, and not all of them have good intentions. Each social media app encourages personal information sharing, but in the wrong hands, over-sharing can be dangerous. Cyber investigators say online predators are just as aware of the most popular websites and apps as teens are, meaning they’re on there as well. READ MORE HERE

VIDEO

Child Predators – Part 3: Relying on victim testimony

The prosecution of child sexual abuse is one of the most difficult tasks a prosecutor faces. Not only are the victims young, the crime itself is particularly traumatic. The Elkhart County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office filed a number of these cases in the past year, but it’s not because child sexual abuse is on the rise. Between September 2012 and March 2013, the prosecutor’s office was faced with short staffing. Eight deputy prosecutors resigned, causing a backlog of some of the more “sensitive” cases. READ MORE HERE

VIDEO

Trauma, PTSD Inheritance

Posted by Sandra On August - 28 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Epigenetic inheritance: Trauma Can Be Passed On Through Generations

downloadGenetic changes stemming from the trauma suffered by Holocaust survivors are capable of being passed on to their children, the clearest sign yet that one person’s life experience can affect subsequent generations. The conclusion from a research team at New York’s Mount Sinai hospital led by Rachel Yehuda stems from the genetic study of 32 Jewish men and women who had either been interned in a Nazi concentration camp, witnessed or experienced torture or who had had to hide during the second world war. READ MORE HERE

Trauma Genetic Scientists Say Parents Are Passing PTSD Onto Their Kids

Childhood trauma leaves mark on DNA of some victims

Trauma: Our Genetic Inheritance

How Trauma Can Affect Our DNA

Sperm can pass trauma symptoms through generations

 

 

Helping Bullied Kids and Teens

Posted by Sandra On August - 26 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

bullying-350Unless you’ve directly experienced bullying, you may not realize just how devastating it can be, especially to a child or teenager. As well as being deeply hurtful, bullying can leave anyone feeling frightened, angry, depressed, and totally undermined. But bullying should never be tolerated. Whether you’re the one being bullied, or you’re a teacher or parent who thinks their child is being bullied or engaged in bullying behavior, there are steps you can take to deal with the problem. READ MORE HERE

“The Mind of a Child Molester” Oprah In-Depth Interview

Posted by Sandra On August - 18 - 2015 Comments Off on “The Mind of a Child Molester” Oprah In-Depth Interview

20100129-oprah-on-set-1-600x250Oprah sits down with four child molesters to get the answers you need to know. How they groom, seduce and gain a child’s trust. She calls it the most honest conversation she’s ever had with sex offenders. Oprah sits down with four admitted child molesters for a frank, graphic discussion of their crimes. Watch the two-hour conversation in its entirety—an Oprah.com exclusive. READ MORE HERE

Watch the 2-hour conversation in its entirety—an Oprah.com exclusive 

Behavioral Indicators of Child Molesters

Posted by Sandra On August - 10 - 2015 Comments Off on Behavioral Indicators of Child Molesters

Predator Behavioral Indicators of Men or Women

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Who Molest Our Children?

CAUTION: Some people who have molested or plan to molest a child exhibit no observable behavior pattern that would be a clue to their future actions.

Persons who molest children:

Are aware, in many cases, of their preference for children before they reach age 18. Most offenders are adult males, but some women also molest children.

Are usually married. A small number never marry and maintain a lifelong sexual and emotional interest in children.

May relate better to children than adults and may feel more comfortable with children and their interests.

May have few close adult friends.

Usually prefer children in a specific age group.

Usually prefer one gender over the other, however, some are bisexual in their preference.

May seek employment or volunteer opportunities with programs involving children in the preferred victim age group for this type of offender.

Pursue children for sexual purposes and may feel emotionally attached to the extent that emotional needs are met by engaging in relationships with children. Example: An adult man spends time with neighbor children or relatives and talks at length about his feelings for them or his own feelings of loneliness or loss in order to get the child’s sympathy.

Often photographs or collects photographs of their victims, dressed, nude, or involved in sexual acts.

May collect child erotica and child-adult pornography which may be used in the following ways:

a. To lower the inhibitions the victims.
b. To fantasize when no potential victim is available.
c. To relive past sexual activities.
d. To justify their inappropriate sexual activities.
e. To blackmail victims to keep them from telling.

May possess alcohol or narcotics and furnish them to their victims to lower inhibitions or gain fear.
Talk with children in ways that equalize their relationship.
May talk about children in the same manner as one would talk about an adult lover or partner.
May seek out organizations and publications that support his sexual beliefs and practices.
May offer to baby-sit or take children on trips in order to manipulate situations to sleep with or near children or bathe or dress them.
May be seen at parks, playgrounds or places frequented by children or teenager.


INCEST OFFENDERS
– Sexually abuse their own children but can also abuse other relatives and neighbors. They can be sexually attracted to children or offend because they are seeking intimate contact with another person regardless of relationship, age or vulnerability. Some don’t understand and others don’t care that they are hurting the child.

Most have multiple victims both inside and outside of their immediate family.
Some abuse both boys and girls in various age groups.
Most appear normal and demonstrate no noticeable pathology.
Few have criminal records.
Most report that they were repeatedly able to talk family and friends out of reporting them and continued to offend.
Many are likely to re-offend without treatment
PEDOPHILES – Are adults who are sexually attracted to children and have a primary or strong interest in children. They offend children because they desire sexual contact with children.
Most hold responsible jobs and frequently align themselves with reputable organizations, sports leagues and churches.
They may work or volunteer with children.
They are likely to be single or live with their parents or have a dysfunctional marriage.
Some appear socially inhibited while others can be extremely charming.
Many target pre-pubescent boys.
Most do not have a criminal record.
Most have molested many children before they are effectively reported to law enforcement.
The majority are likely to re-offend.
SEXUALLY VIOLENT OFFENDERS – Includes the group of offenders who kidnap, rape and even murder some children. This group constitutes the smallest, but most dangerous group of child molesters.
They frequently assault their victims physically.
In addition to abusing children, many have committed adult rapes, assaulted spouses, engaged in burglaries, been chronic drug users, are frequently unemployed and have led a parasitic lifestyle.
Criminal record checks usually reveal a lengthy record of versatile criminality, incarcerations, probation violations and failed attempts at treatment.
They have high re-offense rates for both sexual and generic criminal behavior.

METHODS OFFENDERS USE TO GAIN ACCESS TO CHILDREN
As noted above, offenders can be categorized by the way in which they gain access to victims. The majority of molesters abuse children they are related to or have regular access to by virtue of their position as a parent, step-parent, mother’s boyfriend, uncle, grandfather, neighbor, babysitter and so on. They frequently molest children both in and outside of the home and can abuse girls as well as boys. Because of family ties, close friendships and long-term relationships, people sometimes have a hard time believing these people are guilty and fail to report them to the police. It is always hard to turn a loved one in but it is something even the offender needs to have happen.
Another common group of offenders includes the molesters who work or volunteer in settings where they can purposefully obtain regular access to children. This group includes coaches, teachers, Boy Scout leaders, ministers/priests, school bus drivers, day care providers and other people whose professions or community service puts them in contact with children. Like the first group, these people molest boys and girls and usually offend many children before they get caught. Their profession or the appearance of altruism makes it harder for people to believe they are capable of these crimes. They can be some of the slickest and most charming people we know and, because of this, people fail to believe they are guilty and, again fail to report them to police. When people finally discover that they have molested dozens of children, they are shocked. There are also adult offenders who may not fit in the above groups but still abuse children. This group includes exhibitionists who expose to children, “computer travelers” who contact and solicit children over the Internet and child pornographers. Some of these people exploit and abuse children in a variety of ways. They are our neighbors, friends and relatives. Some are loners, while others look just like the above groups. Females account for ten to twenty percent (10-20%) of child molesters.
Why Do Adults Molest Children?
Most child molesters abuse children for a number of reasons. The two most common reasons are: a) a sexual interest/preference for children and b), a belief system that encourages, allows and supports sexual contact with children. In other words, child molesters are sexually aroused to children and do not understand or care that sexual contact between adults and children is harmful to the child. Some molesters mistakenly believe that they are showing love and affection to the child. Nonetheless, the vast majority know that what they are doing is wrong and illegal and do their best to keep their offenses a secret. Secrecy enables them to continue abusing children and to avoid rejection, prosecution and incarceration.Many offenders become expert liars, even to the point of convincing well-meaning adults that the child was “mistaken” or “confused” about what happened. Even worse, some molesters convince other adults that the child made it up or lied. When the number of separate sexual crimes committed by the average child molester is compared to the low rate of reporting among child victims, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that children rarely mis-perceive, make up or lie about being sexually abused. If a child says he or she has been molested, the probability is high that it really happened and was probably more frequent and invasive than the child reported. Also, the odds are high that we all know at least one or two child molesters and don.t even know it.
Why do Molesters Abuse Certain Children?
Molesters abuse children they are sexually and emotionally attracted to, children they feel are vulnerable and needy, and children they feel that they can control and manipulate into keeping the abuse a secret.
How Do Molesters Keep Children From Telling?
Most child molesters are in a position of trust and are usually able to molest children in a manner that undermines the child’s ability to accurately perceive the behavior as abusive or report them. Most molesters are also able to convince other adults that “it never happened” or that “the child misunderstood”. When they are successful, they obstruct children and adults from reporting them to law enforcement and are able to continue molesting children even longer. So, it’s very important to understand how they manipulate both children and adults.After the offender has selected a child to molest, the offender begins to develop a close relationship with the child and his/her family. If the offender is a parent or someone the child depends on, it’s very easy to manipulate the situation and repeatedly molest the child without getting caught. If the offender is in a position of trust or authority, (as is the case with teachers, coaches and priests who molest) the offender may pay special attention to the child, take them places, buy them gifts or give them extra support and encouragement. They also might threaten the child to keep them quiet.
After the offender starts to develop the relationships, he/she may begin to isolate the child from his/her family and friends. This may include fueling conflicts within the family, alienating the child from friends or family or simply being available to “help out” with babysitting, special outings, rides home, etc. Molesters also test and desensitize children by telling dirty jokes, talking about sexual things and engaging in non-sexual physical contact like back-rubs, wrestling, hugging and horseplay. This behavior generally starts long before the sexual touching starts and serves to normalize contact and trust. The increased physical relationship and intimate talk between the child and offender makes it easier for the offender to introduce sexual behavior into the relationship. If the child’s parent has been present when some of the close physical contact or joking has occurred, it also makes the child think it must be okay.
Another thing that interferes with children’s ability to tell is that many children don’t even know that the contact has changed and is becoming increasingly intimate and sexual. Some offenders try to make it feel good to the child because they know if they hurt or scare the child, they are more likely to tell. Also, children become fearful that they will get into trouble for not telling sooner and become increasing guilt ridden about what is happening. Offenders know these things and caution children that they “will get in trouble too” if they tell.
Some offenders are so good at developing dependent relationships that their victims feel obligated and may even feel protective of the offender. This phenomenon is especially pronounced when the offender is a parent, relative, admired family friend, teacher, coach or priest. Some offenders choose careers or volunteer with youth organizations because they like children and these settings provide increased access and control over children. It is extremely important to remember that offenders spend time and energy manipulating children into cooperating with the abuse and keeping it a secret. Some of them spend hours and hours thinking about what they will say if a child ever tells on them. Because they have been engaged in a covert behavior, sometimes for many years at a time, they have usually become very skilled at lying and manipulating people and situations.
Do Offenders Manipulate Adults Too?
Many molesters work just as hard to seduce and manipulate adults as they do to trick children. Some tell people they think child molesters should be shot, while others work very hard to present themselves as a concerned citizen and “pillar of the community”. Some of their “good works” are performed out of guilt, while others are intended to throw off suspicion if a child ever tells on them.Most molesters spend time thinking of ways to talk people out of reporting them to law enforcement and are able to come up with very creative excuses or rationalizations about what happened. In addition to telling people “it was an accident” or that the child must have “misinterpreted” the situation, some make sure that people know the child has lied about things in the past, been “in trouble” or sexually promiscuous. Most professional forensic experts can’t tell when people are lying, so regular people shouldn’t expect to do any better. The best thing all of us can do if a child says they have been abused is to call the police and report the situation. The worse thing we can do is to accept the explanation of an adult. If the adult is lying and talks you out of reporting, he/she will probably go on to molest more children. Different offenders use different tactics. This paper only covers some of those tactics.
Protecting Your Children From Sexual Abuse
No one wants to have to tell their children about sexual abuse. On the other hand, do you want your child to learn about it from a molester?

TALKING TO YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT SEXUAL ABUSE:

Talk openly with your children about sexual development, behavior and abuse.
Use proper or semi proper names for body parts (penis and vagina), and phrases like; private parts are “private and special”.
Tell your children that, if anyone touches or tries to see their private parts, tries to get them to touch or look at another person’s private parts, shows them pictures of or tries to take pictures of their private parts, talks to them about sex, walks in on them in the bathroom or does anything that makes them feel uncomfortable to tell you or a support person as soon as they can or the next time they see you.
Tell your children that some children and adults have “touching problems”. These people can make “secret touching” look accidental and they should still tell you even if they think it might have been an accident.
Tell your children that touching problems are kind of like stealing or lying and that the people who have those kinds of problems need special help so they don’t continue to have problems or get into trouble.
Tell your children that some people try to trick kids into keeping the touching a secret.
Give your children examples of things that someone might use to try to get them to keep it a secret; candy, money, special privileges, threats, subtle fear of loss, separation or punishment etc.
Tell your children that touching other people’s private parts is not ok for children to do or for adults to do with children. Tell them that you do not want them to do “secret touching” with other people but that you will not be mad at them if they do come and tell you it has happened. Even if it has been happening a lot.
Make sure they have support people they can talk to at home, at school, in their neighborhood or church.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CHILD GETS ABUSED
If your child tells you that he or she has been touched inappropriately, stay calm. Your reaction may make your child feel more guilty or afraid and they might have a harder time talking about what happened.
Tell your child you are glad they told you about it. Telling was a good way to take care of themselves and also, the person who touched them. That person needs help with their “touching problem”. Tell your child that you will take care of things. Tell your child that you will need to talk to someone to figure out what to do next. Be careful to not make promises you can’t keep.
Seek support and comfort for yourself where the child can’t see or hear what you say. In order to avoid confusion, anxiety or guilt, children should not overhear conversations about their disclosure. Too much information/discussion can also interfere with the police investigation or prosecution.
Call your local child abuse hotline or local police department and report the abuse. Failing to report the abuse as soon as possible may mean that other children might get abused too. Don’t try to handle the situation yourself.
The prognosis for healing after being molested is better for children who are supported and believed when they disclose.
Don’t allow any further contact between your child and the alleged offender. Don’t confront the offender yourself.

SAFETY TIPS FOR SUPERVISION OF CHILDREN
Trust your instincts. “Perception and not worry is what serves safety” (de Becker, 1999).
Don’t let young male children go into a men’s public restroom by themselves.
Be cautious about who you allow to baby-sit or spend time alone with your children. Get references. Try to bathe and dress your own children. Routinely quiz your children about what happens while you are gone. Ask questions like “What did you do that was fun?” or “Was there anything that happened while I was gone that worried you or that I should know about?” Don’t always tell your children to mind the babysitter.
Get to know the people and homes where your children play.
Periodically check on your children, especially when they are playing with other kids in your home. If you know that one of your children’s friends has been sexually abused, be more attentive to their playtime.
Don’t let your children walk/ride their bike to school or to a friend’s home alone. Children should travel in groups.
Know your neighbors.
Supervise all Internet activities closely. Consider subscribing to an ISP that screens for obscenity and pornography. Make a “family agreement” about conversations before allowing your children to go into chat rooms. Children should never give out their phone number, address or school name to anyone they meet over the Internet. Warn them about what lurks on the Internet.
Develop the kind of relationship that would allow your child to come to you for help or support for any kind of problem they might need help with, for themselves or a friend.
SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT AND BEHAVIOR BETWEEN CHILDREN
Many forms of sexual play or experimentation are normal and developmentally appropriate. However, when one child is three or more years older, significantly larger, more powerful (physically or emotionally), more sexually sophisticated or uses bribes, threats or intimidation to be sexual with another child, sexual contact falls under a legal definition of abuse. If oral sex, simulated or actual intercourse, French kissing or penetration are involved, the situation warrants immediate investigation. Parents should not attempt to resolve these issues alone and should seek outside, professional guidance.
If your child engages in any type of sexually inappropriate behavior, get professional help right away. Try not to become overly defensive of your child or reject the notion that your child could have done something sexually inappropriate. If your child does have a problem that goes untreated, it may become worse and create many more problems for your child, family, school and community. This includes date rape or sexual assault between preteens and teenagers. Boys who sexually assault girls frequently grow up to molest their own children or engage in domestic violence.
If another child engages your child in sexually inappropriate behavior or talk, tell their parents what happened so that they can get help before it’s too late. If you do not think that the family is seeking professional help, contact your local child abuse hotline.
Buy or borrow books like “Where Did I Come From,” “It’s My Body” and “What’s Happening to My Body” or “A Very Touching Book” for your family to read together. Do it before your children become embarrassed about sexuality or they start developing. Talk to your children about appropriate sexuality. Emphasize consent, birth control and STDs.
Demonstrate loving, respectful intimate relationships in your home. Children should not observe direct sexual contact or any type of pornography.

FACTORS THAT PLACE CHILDREN AT A HIGHER RISK FOR ABUSE
Age, friendliness, shyness, good manners, naivety, curiosity, or isolation.
Living in a single parent home.
Drug or alcohol abuse by parents.
Parental illness or emotional unavailability.
Severe marital conflict or domestic violence in the home.
Living in a home with a stepfather or a mother’s boyfriend.
Previous abuse.
Having an unemployed father or parents that work different shifts.
Parents who are sexually preoccupied, use pornography or have pornography in the home.
Inadequate parental supervision of children.

OFFENDER TRAITS
Adults who seem preoccupied with children.
Single adults who work or volunteer with children’s clubs/activities.
Adults who work with children and also frequently spend their free time doing “special” things with kids.
Adults who spend time volunteering with youth groups who do not have children in those groups.
Adults who seem to engage in frequent contact with children, i.e., casual touching, caressing, wrestling, tickling, combing hair or having children sit on their lap.
Adults who act like children with children or who allow children to do questionable or inappropriate things.
Adults who want to take your children on special outings too frequently or plan activities that would include being alone with your child.
Adults who do not have children and seem to know too much about the current fads or music popular with children.
Adults that your children seem to like for reasons you don’t understand.
Adults who seem able to infiltrate family/social functions or are “always available” to watch your kids.
Please note, not all offenders will demonstrate the above characteristics.
Resources and Bibliography

1. “Identifying Child Molesters: Preventing Child Sexual Abuse by Recognizing the Patterns of the Offenders”. Written by Carla van Dam, Ph.D. Available through Haworth Press, Inc. 1-800-895-429-6784. The first book of its kind, this book provides readers with a detailed understanding of the history and impact of child sexual abuse. Dr. van Dam provides a glimpse into our failure to confront child abuse in an effective manner and does an excellent job of helping lay people understand the “grooming” tactics that offenders use on children and adults. It offers practical strategies to identify and confront child molesters.


2. “A Very Touching Book, For Little People and Big People”. Written by Jan Hindman. Available through Alexandria and Associates. Most parents haven’t got the foggiest idea about how to start talking to their children about private parts or sexual abuse. For those of us who get purple faces when our kids say penis in the grocery store, this book is the ticket. Great artwork and an entertaining approach to prevention education for children. Most appropriate for families with children ages 4-10.


3. “Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of Psychopaths Among Us”. Written by Robert D. Hare, Ph.D. Available through The Guilford Press. This book focuses on predators, psychopaths and criminals. Although fairly clinical and a bit academic, it is the first, and most straightforward book about this highly dangerous population. Disturbing yet relevant to all of us. Fascinating and well written.


4. “Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists and Other Sex Offenders – Who They Are, How They Operate and How We Can Protect Our Children”. It’s by Anna Salter and can be obtained through Basic Books. Every parent, volunteer coordinator, human resources director and church and community member should read this book! The book explains how predators trick and manipulate normal people and why we aren’t able to spot them. Dr. Salter offers tips on prevention for parents, lay people and organizations that focus on delivering services to children and the public. This book will help all of us do a better job of protecting our children and communities.

Dr. Phil.com – Advice – Sexual Predator Warning Signs

The Stranger You Know: How to Spot a Child Molester’s Tricks

Abuse Help For Youth Ages 12+

Posted by Sandra On July - 27 - 2015 Comments Off on Abuse Help For Youth Ages 12+

What Is Child Abuse?

childhelp-call-smallChild abuse is when an adult—usually a parent, family member, caretaker, or someone else close to the family—hurts a child or teen, makes that youth feel worthless, has sexual contact with him or her, or does not provide adequate food, care, or shelter. Child abuse can happen to all types of kids and in all types of families. And it isn’t something that only happens to little kids: 32 percent of 14- to 17-year-olds in the United States have been abused or neglected in their lifetimes, and 28 percent have been sexually victimized.

From time to time, all parents and children have problems, but most parents and adults do not abuse children. There is no single reason why people abuse others. Some adults abuse children because they themselves were abused when they were children. Others just can’t handle their feelings in a healthy way; they might be worried about something, like a problem at work or not having enough money to pay their bills, and take it out on their kids. Drinking alcohol or using drugs can also make it hard for some people to control their actions.

No matter what the reason is for the adult’s behavior, it’s important to know that child abuse is never the child’s fault. READ MORE HERE

Bystander, Good Samaritan Laws

Posted by Sandra On June - 14 - 2015 Comments Off on Bystander, Good Samaritan Laws

imagesWe’d all like to think that when we see something bad happening that we’d step forward to render aid. But in reality most of us don’t. And although some people won’t take the initiative to help, they will take the time to photograph or videotape the event and post it on the internet. Why?

The Bystander Effect – The bystander effect occurs when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation. Social psychologists Bibb Latané and John Darley popularized the concept following the infamous 1964 Kitty Genovese murder in Kew Gardens, New York. Genovese was stabbed to death outside her apartment while bystanders who observed the crime did not step in to assist or call the police. Latané and Darley attributed the bystander effect to the perceived diffusion of responsibility (onlookers are more likely to intervene if there are few or no other witnesses) and social influence (individuals in a group monitor the behavior of those around them to determine how to act). In Genovese’s case, each onlooker concluded from their neighbors’ inaction that their own personal help was not needed.

Good Samaritan Law – offer legal protection to people who give reasonable assistance to those who are injured, ill, in peril, or otherwise incapacitated. The protection is intended to reduce bystanders’ hesitation to assist, for fear of being sued or prosecuted for unintentional injury or wrongful death. An example of such a law in common-law areas of Canada: a good Samaritan doctrine is a legal principle that prevents a rescuer who has voluntarily helped a victim in distress from being successfully sued for wrongdoing. Its purpose is to keep people from being reluctant to help a stranger in need for fear of legal repercussions should they make some mistake in treatment. By contrast, a duty to rescue law requires people to offer assistance, and holds those who fail to do so liable. Good Samaritan laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, as do their interactions with various other legal principles, such as consent, parental rights and the right to refuse treatment. Most such laws do not apply to medical professionals’ or career emergency responders’ on-the-job conduct, but some extend protection to professional rescuers when they are acting in a volunteer capacity.

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The Mind of the Bystander

10 Things You Can Do as a Bystander

What Would You Do if You Were Witness to Child Abuse?

Reporting Crimes: Witnessing, Ignoring, Falsely Reporting, and Lying

June: PTSD Awareness Month

Posted by Sandra On June - 5 - 2015 Comments Off on June: PTSD Awareness Month

About PTSD Awareness

post_traumatic_stress_disorder_ptsd_with_childrenThe National Center for PTSD promotes awareness of PTSD and effective treatments throughout the year. Starting in 2010, Congress named June 27th PTSD Awareness Day (S. Res. 455). For the second consecutive year in 2014, the Senate designated the full month of June for National PTSD Awareness (S. Res. 481).

Following trauma, most people experience stress reactions but many do not develop PTSD. Mental health experts are not sure why some people develop PTSD and others do not. However, if stress reactions do not improve over time and they disrupt everyday life, seeking help to determine if PTSD is a factor is important. The purpose of PTSD Awareness Month is to encourage everyone to raise public awareness of PTSD and its effective treatments. We can all help those affected by PTSD.

Definition By Mayo Clinic Staff

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. Many people who go through traumatic events have difficulty adjusting and coping for a while, but they don’t have PTSD — with time and good self-care, they usually get better. But if the symptoms get worse or last for months or even years and interfere with your functioning, you may have PTSD. Getting effective treatment after PTSD symptoms develop can be critical to reduce symptoms and improve function. READ MORE HERE
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U.S. Youngest Sex Offenders

Posted by Sandra On June - 3 - 2015 Comments Off on U.S. Youngest Sex Offenders

DOCUMENTARY – Kid Criminals: America’s Youngest Sex Offenders

downloadIn America at any one time there are over 70,000 children behind bars. Kid Criminals meets children in high-security juvenile prisons who have committed shocking crimes. In Kid Criminals, an extraordinary two-part documentary from an award-winning production team, Channel 4 will explore some of the toughest juvenile prisons in the US and meet the child inmates, some of whom have committed the most shocking crimes imaginable.

In the US state of Indiana, children as young as 10 can be tried within the adult criminal justice system if the crimes are deemed serious enough or if they are repeated offenders. Most juveniles will have indeterminate sentences. Produced by Plum Pictures and with unprecedented access, this two-part documentary will deal with the different aspects of these juvenile prisons, following them from the intake unit at Logansport Correctional Facility where all juveniles in the state are processed to the male inmates at maximum security Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility and the female juveniles at Madison Juvenile Correctional Facility. There are currently 233 juveniles serving sentences for crimes which include battery, armed robbery, arson and murder. READ MORE HERE – Watch Documentary Below…

EPISODE 1

EPISODE 2

Steps To Take If CPS Won’t Help An Abused Child

Posted by Sandra On June - 1 - 2015 Comments Off on Steps To Take If CPS Won’t Help An Abused Child

What to do if CPS or DHS won’t help an abused child you’ve reported?

imagesSo, you’ve reported an abused child to CPS/DHS and nothing came of it? We hear these stories often and we have some suggestions for you: First and foremost, take photos and/or video of the abuse you have witnessed or seen. This will be valuable evidence to substantiate the abuse you are reporting. Also, the more reports that are submitted about the same abused child, the more chances something will be done quicker. Have the child’s teacher, neighbors, friends, church folks or whoever has any contact with the child, start complaining LOUDLY and OFTEN.

 

STEPS YOU CAN TAKE NEXT:

What to do if CPS won’t help an abused child you’ve reported?

First and foremost, take photos and/or video of the abuse you have witnessed or seen. This will be valuable evidence to substantiate the abuse you are reporting. Also, the more reports that are submitted about the same abused child, the more chances something will be done quicker. Have the child’s teacher, neighbors, friends, church folks or whoever has any contact with the child, start complaining LOUDLY and OFTEN.

1) Contact LEGAL AIDE and find legal representation — your case should be tried in a court of law to petition the court for an abuse or neglect investigation, temporary guardianship, and/or full custody.

2) Call a Child Abuse Hotline and make a formal report. This may also help to escalate an investigation. These hotlines are staffed 24-hours a day. When you call, a Child Protective Services intake specialist will ask you for information about the child’s family and about how and why you think the child is being mistreated.

Child Abuse Hotlines:

3) Call the police or dial 911 directly – especially if the child is in immediate danger!  If the child has current immediate/obvious bruising, abuse, neglect or any signs that the police or EMS workers can visibly see, I guarantee CPS will be forced to step in after they contact them. (Having police reports to coincide with CPS reports helps to bring the case immediate attention!!)

4) Contact the CPS office and ask to speak the the SUPERVISOR—report the worker behind the recommendation. You probably initially spoke to an intake worker. Next time ask to speak to the Intake Worker’s supervisor (they are who decides whether a case is accepted or not). There are two types of investigations: a GPS case/investigation- General Protection Services (and) a CPS case/investigation – Child Protection Services.

5) Contact the child’s school and speak directly to his teacher, principal, coach or school counselor. They are mandated reporters and can help to bring attention to the child’s abuse. When a mandated reporter makes a child abuse report, it will substantiate any other reports already received on said child and will escalate the case to higher priority. Stay in close touch with the school counselor and make sure the children know that the counselor is someone to be trusted and they will NEVER be in trouble for telling the counselor the truth.

6) Document, document, document. Take pictures. Tell the child that if they are hit they are to call the police IMMEDIATELY and reassure them that you will never get angry at them for calling the police. Tell them that if they become that afraid, they are to run to a neighbor’s house and call the police. Police take that kind of stuff very seriously BECAUSE of the number of children who have been seriously injured or worse because of neglect and abuse that went unpunished. Record and document everything—-keep a journal with dates, times, notes. Write down in detail what the child did to be “punished” for, when and where thy were hit and with what object, etc… Remember to take pictures and/or video of any/all abuse. This is crucial!! If possible, install a “nanny or spy cam” to catch the abuse on tape.

7) Take the child to a physician’s office or hospital for evaluation. Ask for a copy of the medical examination report with the doctor’s findings. These reports are also crucial for any investigation.

8) If all else fails, please contact your state governor’s office and speak to thecommission’s office!!! They will record an “in-take” report and investigate. Contact your state legislature/governor’s office/District Attorney and ask for assistance. Report the CPS office that is behind this unacceptable recommendation. Do not take no for an answer…be persistent. Call them, write them, go in person to their offices and tell them you need help.

NOTE: The laws state that parents are allowed to parent as they see fit provided the child isn’t being physically/emotionally/mentally abused nor neglected to the point that it puts the child’s life in danger. Physical abuse is the easiest to prove in a court of law. Emotional/Mental Abuse is about impossible to prove with a younger child, especially if there aren’t other kids in the home displaying the same behaviors and if the behaviors aren’t extreme. Spanking isn’t illegal, spanking with an implement is highly frowned upon, but if it isn’t causing severe pain, bruising or impairment, it’s not (technically) illegal….Just morally and ethically wrong.

Please note that CPS should only be utilized to protect children in danger through child abuse, sexual abuse, maltreatment, or neglect. It should never be used to report individuals who do not agree with the way a family or other parent is raising the child. DHS is always going to try to rehabilitate the parent. Jurisdictions vary, but you need to keep reporting to CPS EVERY TIME an incident occurs. They have to come out and investigate each report by law.

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How the POLICE investigate child abuse allegations

If concerns about child abuse are reported to the police, they have a duty to investigate. This page tells you more about these investigations and how the decision to prosecute is taken.

How the police investigate allegations of child abuse

If someone reports concerns about child abuse to the police, the case will be dealt with by a specialist child abuse investigation team.The team may do one or more of the following things to investigate the allegations:

  • share information with the local authority, schools, and health services to establish what is already known
  • visit and speak to the child, either with or without parental permission
  • visit the home where the child lives or where the offence took place
  • search for and seize evidence of the offence
  • arrange a medical examination of a child (see below)
  • place a child into police protection for up to 72 hours if they believe the child is at risk of immediate significant harm
  • gather statements from potential witnesses (see below).

Medical examinations

The police may want the child who has been abused to be medically examined. The first priority in a medical examination is the safety and welfare of a child.  If a child needs immediate medical treatment, this will always come before any other consideration. Where the child is very young, the parents have to give permission for a medical examination. On rare occasions, a social worker may seek a court order for a medical examination to take place if a parent won’t allow it. If the child is older, the doctor will have to be satisfied that the child is clearly able to give their consent to be medically examined. Police and social workers may attend the medical examination along with the child’s parents and it will be carried out by a specialist pediatrician who will make a record of any injuries and arrange photographs if necessary. If you visit a GP with concerns about child abuse, a further specialist medical examination may need to take place.

Statements

The police may ask anyone who could be a witness to the abuse to provide a statement. This may be written or, particularly with children, by interviewing in a special room with video or DVD recording equipment. When a child is interviewed, a social worker will often be present or may even conduct the interview if they have specialist training. If you are suspected of child abuse, the police must either arrest you or invite you to speak to them at a police station. They must advise you of your legal rights and offer you the opportunity of seeking advice from a solicitor.

Police complaints

If you’re unhappy about the way the police investigate allegations, you may be able to make a complaint.

The decision whether or not to prosecute

Once the police have conducted their investigation and gathered all relevant information, they have to decide if there is enough evidence to consider a prosecution. If there is enough evidence, the police papers are passed to the Child Protective Service (CPS) who make the decision whether a suspect should be charged with an offence or not. CPS may ask the police to make further enquiries or obtain additional evidence. There are guidelines in place which CPS must follow when dealing with a child abuse case. When they make the decision about whether to prosecute someone, specialist prosecutors in CPS must look at all the relevant evidence and decide:

  • if there’s a realistic prospect of conviction, and
  • if a prosecution is in the public interest.

The guidelines say that victims and witnesses should be made aware from the start of the investigation exactly what is expected of them, particularly in terms of going to court and giving evidence, and they should be offered support to help them in this process.  When considering how believable a child or young person is, the police and CPS should focus on the allegation, rather than focusing just on any perceived weaknesses in the victim. In particular, police and prosecutors should avoid making assumptions about victims. A reluctance to cooperate with those in authority, failure to report allegations of abuse swiftly, and providing inconsistent accounts are not uncommon in victims of child sexual abuse, especially during initial interviews’.

The child or young person can be told that other people have made allegations about the suspect. But this should usually only be done after they have given their own account and the details of other allegations shouldn’t be shared.

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The following information is from www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect.htm

Reporting child abuse—anonymously

If you suspect a child is being abused, it’s critical to get them the help he or she needs. Reporting child abuse seems so official. Many people are reluctant to get involved in other families’ lives.

Understanding some of the myths behind reporting may help put your mind at ease if you need to report child abuse.

  • I don’t want to interfere in someone else’s family. The effects of child abuse are lifelong, affecting future relationships, self-esteem, and sadly putting even more children at risk of abuse as the cycle continues. Help break the cycle of child abuse.
  • What if I break up someone’s home? The priority in child protective services is keeping children in the home. A child abuse report does not mean a child is automatically removed from the home—unless the child is clearly in danger. Support such as parenting classes, anger management or other resources may be offered first to parents if safe for the child.
  • They will know it was me who called. Reporting is anonymous. In most places, you do not have to give your name when you report child abuse. The child abuser cannot find out who made the report of child abuse.
  • It won’t make a difference what I have to say. If you have a gut feeling that something is wrong, it is better to be safe than sorry. Even if you don’t see the whole picture, others may have noticed as well, and a pattern can help identify child abuse that might have otherwise slipped through the cracks.

When reporting child abuse

Reporting child abuse can bring up a lot of difficult emotions and uncertainty. You may ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing, or question if your voice will even be heard. Here are some tips for communicating effectively in difficult situations:

  • Try to be as specific as you can. For example, instead of saying, “The parents are not dressing their children right,” say something like, “I saw the child running outside three times last week in subzero weather without a jacket or hat. I saw him shivering and uncomfortable. He seemed to want to come inside.” However, remember that it is not your job to “prove” abuse or neglect. If suspicions are all you have, you should report those as well.
  • Understand that you may not learn of the outcome. Due to confidentiality laws in the U.S., unless you are a mandated reporter in an official capacity, you probably won’t be updated by Child Protective Services (CPS) about the results of their investigation. The family may not broadcast that they have been mandated services, either—but that doesn’t mean they are not receiving them.
  • If you see future incidences, continue to call and report them. Each child abuse report is a snapshot of what is going on in the family. The more information that you can provide, the better the chance of getting the best care for the child.

Reporting abuse in your home or in child custody situations

Witnessing abuse in your own home or suspecting abuse in a custody situation brings its own set of challenges and concerns. You may be afraid of what your abuser will do to you and your children if you speak up. You may also be concerned that the abuser will be able to cover his or her tracks or even turn the abuse around onto you. Culturally, it may not be acceptable for you to separate, adding additional feelings of shame and isolation. You may also be afraid of having your children taken away from you.

Don’t go it alone

Domestic violence isn’t just about black eyes. Manipulation and emotional threats to you and your children are also a form of abuse, power, and control. Fear of losing custody of the children can be extremely stressful for both women and men in abusive relationships. Child abuse allegations in divorce or child custody issues are viewed very carefully to ensure they are not motivated by vindictiveness. However, if your abuser appears professional, well-groomed, and well-spoken to the outside world, you may feel like your concerns aren’t being taken seriously. Worse, if your allegations remain unproven, they may even result in the abuser being given custody.

Therefore, if you are planning to separate, or have already separated and are in a custody battle, it is essential to get support and legal advice. Domestic violence organizations can help you connect with legal resources in your community, and may be able to provide an advocate to assist your case and attend court hearings. Domestic violence organizations can help you work out a safety plan for both you and your children, and in the U.S. can also help you make calls to CPS if needed.

 

Tips on how to report child abuse in your home or in a custody situation

  1. Stay CALM. Do not let your emotions dictate your actions, and do not vent your emotions onto the people who are assigned to investigate your case (CPS, law enforcement officers, etc.).
  2. IF THIS IS AN EMERGENCY: Call 911 or your local police.
  3. DOCUMENT EVERYTHING from this point forward, including times, dates, and places. KEEP all documents from all professionals who have an opinion about the child abuse. This includes therapists, doctors, policemen, and teachers. If a professional informs you that they have an opinion or a suspicion of child abuse, have them document that suspicion, preferably in the form of an affidavit. Be sure to get a copy of any opinions from professionals regarding your child’s case.
  4. HAVE YOUR CHILD EVALUATED. Talk to medical and psychology professionals. If possible, have your child evaluated at a Child Assessment Center.
  5. BEGIN INVESTIGATION. Talk to law enforcement officers to initiate an investigation into the allegation of child abuse. Any reasonable belief of abuse or neglect should be reported to the police. If you have been too afraid to voice allegations in the past, let them know. If you have previously reported abuse, communicate the fact that you are trying to protect the child from further harm
  6. TALK TO CPS. If the abuse is not criminal, talk to CPS to initiate an investigation into the allegation of child abuse.
  7. GET AN ATTORNEY. Get an attorney and start proceedings to gain full custody of your child and terminate the abuser’s parental rights.
  8. CALL JUSTICE FOR CHILDREN. If you encounter a problem with completing steps 3-6, call JFC at 1-800-733-0059. Office hours are M-F 8-5 pm Central Standard Time.

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Ways to help the child

How to respond when a child discloses abuse

  • Remain calm. A child may retract information or stop talking if he/she senses a strong reaction.
  • Believe the child. Children rarely make up stories about abuse.
  • Listen without passing judgment. Most children know their abusers and often have confused feelings.

What to say to the child

  • I believe you.
  • I know it’s not your fault.
  • I’m glad I know about it.
  • I’m sorry this happened to you.
  • I will take care of you—you don’t need to take care of me.
  • I’m not sure what will happen next.
  • Nothing about you made this happen.
  • I am upset, but not with you.
  • I’m angry at the person who did this.
  • I’m sad. You may see me cry. That’s all right. I’m not mad at you.
  • I don’t know why he did it. He has a problem.
  • We need to get help, so this doesn’t happen again.
  • I know this isn’t easy for you to talk about, but there are some people who need to know what happened so they can help keep you and other children safe.

Support the child emotionally.

  • Never blame the child for what happened to him/her.
  • Remember to communicate support for the child for having told about the abuse. Use statements like, “You were very brave to tell about what happened. I’m proud of you.” Say it often.
  • Don’t communicate anger toward the child as you arrange for various appointments such as the interview, medical exam, and therapy sessions. Your child may believe you are “put out” with having to do this and may feel like a burden.
  • Discuss with your child and other professionals what to tell relatives, teachers or friends about the abuse. Every detail does not need to be shared.
  • Never use threats or intimidation to help make sure that the child is telling the truth.
  • Don’t pretend, in an effort to return your child to normal life, that nothing has happened to your child. This can communicate the wrong message

Keep the child safe—physically and emotionally.

  • Keep the child away from the person suspected of the abuse.
  • Ensure that the offender does not telephone the home where the child resides at any time when the child victim might answer the phone.
  • Keep all your conversations with the offender, if any occur, in a room with the door closed and always away from the child.
  • If you, as the protective parent, choose to meet with the offender, do so during school times or when the child is visiting a friend or relative. These meetings should be private and should not be discussed with the child. It is never okay for a parent or other relative to pass on messages from the offender to  the child.
  • Do not “ship off” the child to a relative so that you can see the offender in the house.
  • Do not leave your child with a relative or friend who either doesn’t know or doesn’t believe the report of abuse, especially in a place where the offender might stop by and visit or call.
  • If the offender breaks any supervision or protection rules, notify the investigating officer and caseworker as soon as possible. If you fail to do this, the court may see you as an unprotective parent, and you may run the risk of losing custody of your child. This is especially true if you allow contact between the offender and child.

Protect the investigation.

  • Be careful not to question the child about the abuse. Repeated questioning by untrained professionals will only serve to compromise the investigation. If  the child chooses to talk about what happened, listen supportively, but do not probe or ask any questions that may be considered leading or suggestive. This is very important.
  • If you are aware of any child pornography, of any sexual solicitation, or your child (who is under 18) receives any sexually explicit images, you should turn your computer off and leave it off to preserve any evidence for future law enforcement use.
  • Unless your law enforcement agency asks you to do so, DO NOT attempt to copy or print any of the images or text found on the computer.
  • Don’t discuss the case, the offender’s bond, or jail arrangement within hearing distance of the child.
  • Never coach or advise your child on how to act or what to say to the professionals on the investigation team. This may be seen as interfering in the case or not being cooperative with the system.

 

Film: A Place for Pedophiles

Posted by Sandra On May - 25 - 2015 Comments Off on Film: A Place for Pedophiles

download (2)British documentary film maker Louis Theroux has a unique style. Like no other he manages to strike the balance between getting involved with and close to his topics and making sure he keeps enough distance to guarantee his neutrality and independence. His open approach, integrity and diplomacy win people over, even those living in some of the world’s most closed communities. Theroux’s work method has resulted in quite a few memorable scenes and movies. In his own words and with the aid of video fragments he will shed a light on his style, technique and vision.

Louis has gained access to Coalinga Mental Hospital in California, which houses more than 500 of the most disturbed criminals in America, convicted pedophiles. Most have already served lengthy prison sentences, but have been deemed unsafe for release. Instead, they have been sent here for an indefinite time. Spending time with those undergoing treatment, Louis wrestles with whether he can ever allow himself to believe men whose whole history is defined by deception and deceit.

All right reserved to BBC. This is a non-profit contribution for education.

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Dreamcatchers DV Division

Posted by Sandra On May - 21 - 2015 Comments Off on Dreamcatchers DV Division

DREAMCATCHERS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DIVISION

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Domestic Violence is any physical or psychological abuse directed at partners, siblings, children or elders. Violence in the home harms everyone in the family. Children are especially vulnerable – If there is violence in the home where children reside it is considered child abuse. When they witness violent behavior between family members, or when they’re being abused themselves, they may repeat the cycle of abuse as they grow older. As parents it is our sole duty and responsibility to prevent family violence and protect our children. If you are experiencing violence in your home, remember you are not alone. Abusive behavior affects every neighborhood, ethnic background and economic class…it does not discriminate. No family is immune, but no family should ever be a victim of abuse!

Our new DV program is directed by a DV survivor, Ann Livingston. She is working adamantly on educating the public on domestic violence, prevention, awareness and the steps to escape an abusive relationship.

For more info, visit us at:

Website:    http://dreamcatchersdvdivision.weebly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dreamcatchers-Domestic-Violence-Division/710795282346223?fref=ts

Twitter:     https://twitter.com/AnnMLivingston

Email:       [email protected]

Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7 for immediate help! 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

The Rape Survivor Child Custody Act

Posted by Sandra On May - 20 - 2015 Comments Off on The Rape Survivor Child Custody Act

Senate Votes to Stop Rapists From Getting Custody of Children Conceived Through Rape

_text_imageIt was a rare, unanimous, and bipartisan moment on the Senate floor Wednesday when lawmakers passed an amendment that motivates states to pass laws that give mothers—who conceived their children as a result of rape—the chance to take away the parental rights of their rapist. The Rape Survivor Child Custody Act passed as an amendment to the Senate’s human-trafficking bill, which passed later Wednesday after languishing in the Senate for more than a month over an abortion provision. The bipartisan Rape Survivor legislation passed after receiving little attention over the last several years since being introduced. READ MORE HERE

Rape Survivor Child Custody Act – GovTrack.us

H.R.2772 – 113th Congress (2013-2014): Rape Survivor Child Custody Act

 

81 Mental Health Resources When You Can’t Afford a Therapist

Posted by Sandra On April - 27 - 2015 Comments Off on 81 Mental Health Resources When You Can’t Afford a Therapist

mental_health_hotlines

Mental Health Apps, Websites, Online Support, and Forums; 

Hotlines and Call Centers, Addiction & Other Support Groups

Sure, pretty much everyone could benefit from therapy. But not everyone can afford it. Thankfully, there’s a whole world of free or affordable mental health care out there designed to help you with just about every issue, whether that’s kicking an addiction, managing your emotions, finding a group of like-minded peers, or recovering from trauma. Even better? Some of these resources are available whenever you need them. (No need to schedule an appointment between the hours of 9 and 5.) Support groups, hotlines and call centers, websites and online forums, and even apps can be put into action when you have a crisis or just need extra support. But finding out which resources are best for you takes some legwork. We’ve rounded up 81 of the very best affordable (or free) mental health resources. Keep this list handy whenever you need some backup. READ MORE HERE

Note: Resources are listed alphabetically by type.

Female Teacher Sex Convictions Increasing At Shocking Rate

Posted by Sandra On April - 23 - 2015 Comments Off on Female Teacher Sex Convictions Increasing At Shocking Rate

Changing attitudes and more women cops are behind the soaring numbers of female teachers being prosecuted for sexual assault

27D0806400000578-3051283-image-m-50_1429738471928A Saturday Night Live skit about a male student having sex with his female high school teacher painted the relationship as every teen boy’s dream, but drew a firestorm of criticism on social media. The reaction to the comedy sketch reflected a growing view among law enforcement and victims’ advocacy groups that it is no laughing matter when a woman educator preys on her male students. In U.S. schools last year, almost 800 school employees were prosecuted for sexual assault, nearly a third of them women. READ MORE HERE

Women Arrested for Indecent Behavior With Kids – Crime

Female Teacher Sex Offenders -Sexual Predators- Registry

The big list: Female teachers with students

Female Sex Offenders

Female Offenders Driven by More Than Sex 

‘Sexpidemic’: Female teachers preying on minors

Child Sex Exploitation Websites Have Increased 136%

Posted by Sandra On April - 14 - 2015 Comments Off on Child Sex Exploitation Websites Have Increased 136%

90% of images now show victims aged ten or less

downloadThe number of web pages containing child pornography has more than doubled over the past year. Researchers have also revealed the material features increasingly young children. Nine out of every ten images of child sexual abuse found online in 2014 showed children aged ten and under, according to the Internet Watch Foundation. That was a dramatic increase from the year before, when around two-thirds of the child porn it found featured children of such a young age. They were part of a worrying rise in the amount of child abuse the IWF discovered online. Overall, experts from the regulator removed more than 31,000 web pages featuring vile images of sexual abuse in 2014, soaring 136 per cent from around 13,000 the previous year. READ MORE HERE

Online child sex abuse images soar

How to Report Child Pornography – US Department of Justice

 

 

Warning Signs of Sex Abuse

Posted by Sandra On April - 9 - 2015 Comments Off on Warning Signs of Sex Abuse

Warning Signs in Children of Possible Sexual Abuse 

80472385-Sad-childStop It Now! has developed a warning signs tip sheet to help identify possible warning signs. Any one sign does not mean that a child was sexually abused, but the presence of several suggests that you begin asking questions and consider seeking help. Any one sign doesn’t mean that a child was sexually abused, but the presence of several suggests that you begin asking questions and consider seeking help. Young children often do not report sexual abuse to a parent because they are ashamed, feel loyal to the person who is abusing them, or have been threatened not to tell. You may notice some changes in your child, however as a parent it is imperative that you are aware of what signs to look for that may indicate child sexual abuse.

 

Behavior you may see in a child or adolescent:

    • Has nightmares or other sleep problems without an explanation
    • Seems distracted or distant at odd times
    • Has a sudden change in eating habits
    • Refuses to eat
    • Loses or drastically increases appetite
    • Has trouble swallowing
    • Sudden mood swings: rage, fear, insecurity, or withdrawal
    • Leaves “clues” that seem likely to provoke a discussion about sexual issues
    • Develops new or unusual fear of certain people or places
    • Refuses to talk about a secret shared with an adult or older child
    • Writes, draws, plays, or dreams of sexual or frightening images
    • Talks about a new older friend
    • Suddenly has money, toys, or other gifts without reason
    • Thinks of self or body as repulsive, dirty, or bad
    • Exhibits adult-like sexual behaviors, language, and knowledge

What to look for in adults and children

What is considered child sexual abuse?

Child sexual abuse includes touching and non-touching activity. Some examples of touching activity include:

  • touching a child’s genitals or private parts for sexual pleasure
  • making a child touch someone else’s genitals, play sexual games or have sex putting objects or body parts (like fingers, tongue or penis) inside the vagina, in the mouth or in the anus of a child for sexual pleasure

Some examples of non-touching activity include:

  • showing pornography to a child
  • deliberately exposing an adult’s genitals to a child
  • photographing a child in sexual poses
  • encouraging a child to watch or hear sexual acts
  • inappropriately watching a child undress or use the bathroom
As well as the activities described above, there is also the serious and growing problem of people making and downloading sexual images of children on the Internet. To view child abuse images is to participate in the abuse of a child. Those who do so may also be abusing children they know. People who look at this material need help to prevent their behaviour from becoming even more serious.

Warning signs in children and adolescents of possible child sexual abuse

Children often show us rather than tell us that something is upsetting them. There may be many reasons for changes in their behaviour, but if we notice a combination of worrying signs it may be time to call for help or advice.

What to watch out for in children:

  • Acting out in an inappropriate sexual way with toys or objects
  • Nightmares, sleeping problems
  • Becoming withdrawn or very clingy
  • Becoming unusually secretive
  • Sudden unexplained personality changes, mood swings and seeming insecure
  • Regressing to younger behaviors, e.g. bedwetting
  • Unaccountable fear of particular places or people
  • Outburst of anger
  • Changes in eating habits
  • New adult words for body parts and no obvious source
  • Talk of a new, older friend and unexplained money or gifts
  • Self-harm (cutting, burning or other harmful activities)
  • Physical signs, such as, unexplained soreness or bruises around genitals or mouth, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy
  • Running away
  • Not wanting to be alone with a particular child or young person

Any one sign doesn’t mean that a child was or is being sexually abused, but the presence of several suggests that you should begin to ask questions and consider seeking help. Keep in mind that some of these signs can emerge at other times of stress such as:

  • During a divorce
  • Death of a family member or pet
  • Problems at school or with friends
  • Other anxiety-inducing or traumatic events

Physical warning signs

Physical signs of sexual abuse are rare, however, if you see these signs, take your child to a doctor. Your doctor can help you understand what may be happening and test for sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Pain, discoloration, bleeding or discharges in genitals, anus or mouth
  • Persistent or recurring pain during urination and bowel movements
  • Wetting and soiling accidents unrelated to toilet training

Signs that an adult may be using their relationship with a child for sexual reasons

The signs that an adult is using their relationship with a child for sexual reasons may not be obvious. We may feel uncomfortable about the way they play with the child, or seem always to be favouring them and creating reasons for them to be alone. There may be cause for concern about the behaviour of an adult or young person if they:

  • Refuse to allow a child sufficient privacy or to make their own decisions on personal matters.
  • Insist on physical affection such as kissing, hugging or wrestling even when the child clearly does not want it.
  • Are overly interested in the sexual development of a child or teenager.
  • Insist on time alone with a child with no interruptions.
  • Spend most of their spare time with children and have little interest in spending time with people their own age.
  • Regularly offer to baby-sit children for free or take children on overnight outings alone.
  • Buy children expensive gifts or give them money for no apparent reason.
  • Frequently walk in on children/teenagers in the bathroom.
  • Treat a particular child as a favourite, making them feel ‘special’ compared with others in the family.
  • Pick on a particular child.

Child abuse among children and young people

Age appropriate sexual behavior

We all know that children pass through different stages of development as they grow, and that their awareness and curiosity about sexual matters change as they pass from infancy into childhood and then through puberty to adolescence. Each child is an individual and will develop in his or her own way. However, there is a generally accepted range of behaviors linked to a child’s age and developmental stage. Sometimes these will involve some exploration with other children of a similar age. It can be difficult to tell the difference between age appropriate sexual exploration and warning signs of harmful behavior. Occasionally we may need to explain to children why we would prefer them not to continue with a particular behavior.

This is a chance to talk with them about keeping themselves and others safe and to let them know that you are someone who will listen. Disabled children may develop at different rates, depending on the nature of their disability, and they can be more vulnerable to abuse. Children with learning disabilities, for example, may behave sexually in ways that are out of step with their age. Particular care may be needed in educating such children to understand their sexual development and to ensure that they can communicate effectively about any worries they have.

It is important to recognise that while people from different backgrounds have different expectations about what is acceptable behaviour in children, sexual abuse happens across all races and cultures. Remember that each child develops at his or her own pace and not every child will show the behaviours described below. If you have any worries or questions about a child you know, talk to someone about it.

Pre-school children (0-5) years commonly:

  • Use childish ‘sexual’ language to talk about body parts
  • Ask how babies are made and where they come from
  • Touch or rub their own genitals
  • Show and look at private parts

They rarely:

  • Discuss sexual acts or use sexually explicit language
  • Have physical sexual contact with other children
  • Show adult-like sexual behaviour or knowledge  

School-age children (6-12 years) commonly:

  • Ask questions about menstruation, pregnancy and other sexual behavior
  • Experiment with other children, often during games, kissing, touching, showing and role playing
  • Masturbate in private

They rarely:

  • Masturbate in public
  • Show adult like sexual behaviour or knowledge

Adolescents:

  • Ask questions about relationships and sexual behavior
  • Use sexual language and talk between themselves about sexual acts
  • Masturbate in private
  • Experiment sexually with adolescents of similar age

NB. About one-third of adolescents have sexual intercourse before the age of 16.

They rarely:

  • Masturbate in public
  • Have sexual contact with much younger children or adults 

Warning signs of sexually harmful behaviour

One of the hardest things for parents to discover is that their child may have sexually harmed or abused another child. In this situation, denial, shock and anger are normal reactions. If it is not responded to quickly and sensitively, the effect on the whole family can be devastating. For this reason it is vital to contact someone for advice about what to do as soon as you suspect that something is wrong. The positive message is that early help for the child or young person and their family can make a real difference. Evidence suggests that the earlier children can get help, the more chance there is of preventing them moving on to more serious behaviour. It is important to be alert to the early warning signs that something is going wrong. If you are in this situation, remember that you are not alone. Many other parents have been through similar experiences, and, as a result, the child and family found the help they needed are were able to rebuild their lives. The first step is to decide that it would be helpful to talk it over with someone else.

Do you know a child or adolescent who:

  • Seeks out the company of younger children and spends an unusual amount of time in their company?
  • Takes younger children to ‘secret’ places or hideaways or plays ‘special’ games with them (e.g. doctor and patient, removing clothing etc.) especially games unusual to their age?
  • Insists on hugging or kissing a child when the child does not want to?
  • Tells you they do not want to be alone with a child or becomes anxious when a particular child comes to visit?
  • Frequently uses aggressive or sexual language about adults or children?
  • Shows sexual material to younger children?
  • Makes sexually abusive telephone calls?
  • Shares alcohol or drugs with younger children or teens?
  • Views child pornography on the internet or elsewhere?
  • Exposes his or her genitals to younger children?
  • Forces sex on another adolescent or child?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should talk to the child or young person and seek advice.

What you can do if you see warning signs

If you are concerned about the sexualized behaviors in a parent, cousin, sibling, friend, or neighbor, you should consider contacting the police or children’s services in your area, they can take action if appropriate. If you choose not to do that, care enough to talk to the person whose behavior is worrying you.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON CHILD SEX ABUSE CLICK HERE

What Is Child “Grooming?”

Posted by Sandra On March - 31 - 2015 Comments Off on What Is Child “Grooming?”

downloadPerpetrators of child sexual abuse (CSA) may gain the trust of potential child victims and their caregivers by methodically “grooming” them. This process begins with identifying potential victims, gaining their trust, and breaking down their defenses. These grooming tactics are often directed at potential youth victims as well as the adult caregivers—parents, other youth-serving professionals, and the community-at-large. After gaining access to children and youth by achieving this trust, the perpetrator initiates some kind of contact that s/he finds sexually gratifying. This sexual contact may range from voyeurism to rape and other forms of child sexual abuse. Grooming helps the offender gain access to the victim, and sets up a relationship grounded in secrecy so that the crime is less likely to be discovered. READ MORE HERE

 

Child Sexual Abuse – 6 Stages of Grooming – Oprah.com

Grooming Children for Sexual Molestation

The Grooming Process | Department for Children and Families

Child Sexual Abuse & Grooming

Sexual Offender Tactics and Grooming

101 Ways to Move From Victim-Survivor-Thriver

Posted by Sandra On March - 30 - 2015 Comments Off on 101 Ways to Move From Victim-Survivor-Thriver

imagesThe cold hard fact is that far too many of us are going through pain. I know, I’ve spoken to enough of you about it. But if you know me, even after you’ve seen my documentary and read my book about it and heard me speak – you know that I am all about moving on. Yes, life is hard and the worst nightmare – child sexual abuse – is so prevalent it can make you ill. But I believe that the more survivors and loved ones of survivors heal and move forward, the more we will end the epidemic by not repeating it.

The majority of people who read my blog and know me from speaking gigs have told me that me speaking about moving on (and doing it with cursing and laughter) is way they love me. Ah, I love you too! Those who hate what I talk about will always be haters and should read this list too. A DM from a Twitter friend promoted this list by asking me, surprised, if I really had moved on from my story and how in the world I did it. Here you go! READ MORE HERE

 

10 Signs of Child Abuse

Posted by Sandra On March - 29 - 2015 Comments Off on 10 Signs of Child Abuse

download (1)Readers, the first step to curbing child abuse is recognizing it. If you see, or suspect, any form of child abuse PLEASE report it! Take action – it could save a child’s life. Report child abuse to your local or state child protective service agency, or to your neighborhood police precinct.You can become aware of child abuse by recognizing the signs. Here are 10 signs that can help:

1. Unexplained injuries: There may be unconvincing explanations for a child’s injuries.

2. Changes in behavior: Abused children often appear scared, anxious, depressed, withdrawn or more aggressive.

3. Returning to earlier behavior: Abused children may display behaviors shown when they were younger, such as thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, fear of the dark or strangers. Loss of basic language or memory problems may occur.

READ MORE HERE

10 Signs of Child Abuse & Neglect

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