Protecting the Unprotected

A friend and advocate shared this post this morning about the manipulative tactics of child predators. It is something that anyone who works with children in the system needs to read. The traits listed are a personal reminder of the insidious methods of those who truly prey upon children in care.

Children in foster care are especially vulnerable to abuses once they enter the system. The nature of their circumstance;  no solid parental figure, transient homes,  and lack of trustworthy/consistent adults puts them at high risk. Some foster children only know abuse before they enter a new home and so when the cycle reappears, it is hard to recognize.

It is the job of foster parents, mentors, teachers, social workers and advocates to educate children and anyone who works with children about the malignant tactics of child predators. They are generally not strangers hiding in the bushes. Usually it is an adult or child that is trusted. By gaining trust, the abuser has easy access to the child.

The predator uses an intentional manipulation of caregivers and the child to gain access. Gift giving, over-attention, being in a position of high esteem, or simply being the only person who notices this child, are just a few ways that predators find a weak link. Being trusted by the family or community gives the abuser an open door. Even more so, when predators are trusted family members or foster family members, it is an enmeshment that is hard for the child to escape.

Pedophiles “groom” caregivers and children to believe they are a valuable asset to the child’s life. Then, in private, the abuser shows his or her true colors. Soon, the child is caught in the highs and lows of the depravity of a well-calculated manipulation.

Teachers, social workers, mentors, health care workers and parents need to be trained to understand the psychology behind the grooming tactics of predators.  Education is the key to keeping  vulnerable children safe enough to have a childhood.


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