Tactics of Offenders

Steps an Abuser May Take To Sexually Abuse A Child
Some parents wonder how it is possible for their children to be abused. Offenders use many tactics to gain access to children. These include the following:
  • Seeking out a child they know: Abusers usually pick children who are easy to get to (relatives, friends and neighbors). They may also seek children who have emotional needs for friendship and attention or who are developmentally delayed.
  • Abusers often seek ways to build trust and friendship with children. They may spend time playing with them, volunteer for child-care duty, become their "buddy,'' or buy them candy or presents.
  • Abusers may find ways to touch children a lot. As a result, the children are often confused when the touch becomes sexual. The abusers may play games with a lot of physical contact, like wrestling, and they may tickle children and sneak sexual touches.
  • Abusers find excuses to be alone with children so they can molest them. For example, they may baby sit, invite them to sleep over, or take them camping.
  • Abusers try to make the children feel responsible so they won't tell. They use statements like these:
    • “You know you like the way I touch you”
    • “If you tell, people will think you are bad”
    • “If you tell our 'special secret,' I will go to jail”
    • “If you tell your mother, she won't love you anymore”
Reference: “Helping Your Child Recover From Sexual Abuse” by Caren Adaras, M.A. and Jennifer Fay, M.A.