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Child sexual abuse is any form of sexual activity imposed upon a child by an adult or other child in a position of power, authority, or influence.
Child sexual abuse can involve touching the intimate parts of a child’s body, enticing or forcing the child to have sexual relations, or participating in nontouching offenses, such as obscene phone calls or taking pornographic photos.
Some offenders will test a child’s personal safety awareness to determine the risk that the child will tell an adult.
Offenders may groom not only the child but also their family and even the local community, who may act as the gatekeepers of access.
In addition, sex offenders may groom criminal justice and other institutions into believing that they present no risk to children, which can be termed “institutional grooming.” Although not all child sexual abuse involves grooming, it is a common process used by offenders.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) Web site provides general definitions about the types of sexual abuse.
The people who sexually abuse can be immediate or extended family members (fathers, mothers, stepparents, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc.).
For decades, parents, guardians, and teachers have told children to “stay away from strangers” in an effort to keep them safe.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) suggests that children do not have the same understanding of who a stranger is as an adult might; therefore, it is a difficult concept for the child to grasp.
However, in extreme cases, offenders may use threats and physical force to sexually assault or abuse a child.
More common, though, are subtle approaches designed to build relationships with families.
If you are concerned about a sex offender in your neighborhood, there are several courses of action. Web site provides tips about what you can do if a sex offender resides in your neighborhood.
Anyone who uses the information contained in or accessed through this Website to threaten, intimidate, or harass any individual, including registrants or family members, or who otherwise misuses this information may be subject to criminal prosecution or civil liability under federal and/or state law.
The offender may assume a caring role, befriend the child, or even exploit their position of trust and authority to groom the child and/or the child’s family.