The Child Molestation Research and Prevention Institute reports that two out of every 10 young girls and one out of every 10 young boys are victims of sexual molestation and abuse. Many children do not tell their parents or other children about their encounters with a sexual predator. Child molesters are often skilled at communication, which they use to lure the victim in and then keep him quiet through subtle threats or intimidation. Adults should know the warning signs so they can spread the word and prevent child molestation.
Attachment to a Child
Praesidium states that 47 percent of child molestation cases involve a perpetrator who already knows the victim. This could mean that the child molester is a family member, friend of the family, personal acquaintance, babysitter or member of the victim's church.
One sign that parents and caregivers should look for is when another older child or adult is extremely attached to just one child. He may shower the child with gifts or single him out to engage in special activities such as trips to the zoo or rides in the car. The attachment goes above and beyond a normal friendship or relationship; it may develop into a regular routine. Another indication of possible foul play would be if the adult or older child only wants to take that child as opposed to making it a group activity. The molester makes the child feel special and gains his trust through gifts, fun activities and appreciation.
Change in Child’s Behavior
Sudden changes in a child's behavior may indicate inappropriate activity. Survivors and Victims Empowered states that a child molester or pedophile often manipulates the child mentally. The child may not come out and verbally tell her parents she is being molested. The child molester convinces the child that she is also at fault for the inappropriate behavior and she will get in trouble if she tells her parents. Acting out sexually on other children, detachment from peers, isolation and emotional outbursts are all warning signs there may be an underlying problem with a child predator. Resisting being around the predator could also be an indication.
Detachment Around Adults
Another sign of someone who may be a child molester is if they focus more of their spare time on wanting to be around children rather than other adults. This may indicate that they are fixated on the emotional or sexual high that they receive from being around or near a child or victim. They may spend more of their time trying to relate to being in a relationship with a child as opposed to someone their own age.