Pedophiles – Who they are and how to identify one
Pedophiles are adults who are attracted to prepubescent children. Not all pedophiles are child molesters and vice versa. Pedophiles who are sexually attracted to children, may not act on it. On the other hand, child molesters may not be sexually attracted to children, they do it because they suffer from ‘pedophilia’ a psychiatric disorder. The attraction is generally towards children under the age of 13. A person should be 16 years or above and at least 5 years older than the prepubescent child, to be considered a child molester.
Child molesters have no different appearance or characteristics, so identifying one can be difficult. However, one can look out for signs or behaviour of these child molesters to identify them, from general public. But remember, not all people who are good with children are child molesters. Wrongly accusing someone for child molestation can have severe consequences.
What to look for:
Child molesters can be of any race, religion, sex or occupation. They may appear to be charming, well presented, good natured with predatory thoughts that they are adept at hiding.
Although parents fear that their child is at risk by strangers, studies show that most child molesters are known to their victim. They can be molested by any family member, family relative, family friend, teachers, coach, neighbour or any other known person. Only few of the victims have been molested by strangers or perpetrators.
Generally, the child molesters are known to be men. Though, there seem to be only small portion of female molesters, the figures may have a high standard error and must be interpreted with caution. It is often argued that all, or most of the child molester have been victims of molestation themselves, during their childhood.
Common behaviour of child molesters:
Predators are often found loitering in the vicinity of children. These places can be schools, childcare facilities, places with before and after care facilities, playgrounds etc. They may have jobs that allow them to be around kids like coaching, babysitting. Offenders treat children as though they are adults. They often say they love children or feel as if they are still children.
These perpetrators use various tactics to gain trust of the child or their parents. They try to spend time with kids in any ways possible. They offer help to parents to babysit their kids, take them shopping, classes etc.
Child molesters target vulnerable kids as their victims. These kids may be looking for emotional support due to disturbed family background, attention seekers or unsupervised kids. Perpetrators often pose as ‘parent’ figure for kids and convince parents that their kids are safe with them.
Perpetrators use dirty tricks or games on kids to gain trust. These tricks are basically to confuse and deceive kids. They can be in the form of keeping secrets (that are valuable to kids), treat them as adults with power, expose them to pornographic images or videos, touching them indecently like kissing, touching, show them love and affection.
How can you keep your kid safe?
The best way to protect your kid is, supervision. The more you are involved in your kid’s life the less are the chances of molestation. Whether it is home, coaching or classes, trips or use of gadgets. Teach them the ‘good’, ‘bad’ and ‘secret’ touches. Regular interaction with them about their life, interests, hobbies will make communication easier and more open.
Kids should be educated about the use of internet. Make them aware of the possibility that perpetrators can pose as children or teenagers to lure kids online. Monitor their online activities and discuss now and then about their online communication. Teach them not to share photos or information to a person he or she befriended online. Show them that you are a present parent.
The more you are involved in their activities the less are the chances of them feeling left out. Make sure to supervise their coaching, classes or other activities, chaperone field trips. Not all trips can be supervised. Make sure though, that they are supervised by adults you know well. Don’t let them be with adults you don’t know well. Show them that you are spending more time with them and that nothing is more important in your life, besides them.
Look out for the small signs. These can include, your kid behaving differently, staying aloof. Try to talk to them and find out what is wrong. Always trust your child first and never ignore their complaints, even if they involve your close and trusted member.
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