Child Sex Offences
As much as we, as parents, would like not to believe it could happen to our children, the shadow of child sex offences and child sex offenders looms large in our society. The increase in child sex offences in the last 20 years has been great and the reasons for this are difficult to ascertain.
The Internet and Child Sex OffencesSince the advent of the Internet back in the latter half of the 1990s, there has been an increase in the amount of material published containing images and details of sex acts performed on or in the presence of children.
This is a frightening fact but one that is made all the more real now that the internet is playing such an important role in our children's lives. Certainly the web is a source of great knowledge and fun for our children, but it has to be addressed that certain elements use the internet for the distribution of literature and photographic imagery that exploits children in the most unpleasant of ways.
With this in mind it is important to keep close watch on our children's internet activity and to prevent them from accessing any sites, social networking sites or forums where you think there is a definite risk of exposure to such material.
Offences Against the PersonThere are a great many offences of a sexual nature that can be committed against our children, which include:
- Sexual assault
- Engaging a person in a sexual activity without consent
- Sexual activity with a child
- Causing a child to watch a sexual act
- Child sex offences committed by children or younger persons
- Meeting a child following sexual grooming
If You Suspect Your Child has been the Victim of a Child Sex OffenceThe realisation and the knowledge that their child may have been a victim of a sex offender is something that all parents dread. Statistics have shown that in many of the cases of child sex abuse the child has had prior knowledge or contact with the offender. With this in mind, it is important to be aware of where your child is and who he or she is with.
If you employ the services of a child minder or home help, they should have a CRB check (Criminal Records Bureau) check already carried out. If they do not, you should ask them to obtain one before making any offer of employment to them.
There are also signs to look out for in your child's behaviour. Have they:
- Become withdrawn?
- Displayed cuts or bruises without good reason?
- Played truant from school?
- Refused to interact with the family unit?
- Refused to spend time in the company of a particular person or persons?
Interact with them on a one-to-one basis, spend time with them and ask questions; do not push them for answers. If a child has been the victim of a sex offence, they will often not want to talk about it, so it is important that you make it easy for them to talk about it without their feeling it is their fault.
For further information on any of the topics shown here, talk to your local Department of Social Services and also consult your child's school. More importantly, keep calm and remember the interests of the child or children involved.