Protecting your child from sexual predators - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Protecting your child from sexual predators

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Albany- According to the Georgia Center for Children statistics, every thirty minutes, a child is the victim of abuse in Georgia. A big percentage of that abuse is sexual.

"Recently we've had almost a rash of horrific type of experiences with perpetrators and child molestors who are doing horrific things to children," says Nick Carden. Nick Carden provides psychological help to many children who are victims of abuse but he says the damage is bigger than that one child.

"It's always detrimental not only to the child but it also impacts the family," says Carden. Unfortunately sometimes a sexual offender can be part of that family so parents should be wary of familiar and unfamiliar people. "No one is exempt from thinking that this person may or may not be a perpetrator and so it's kind of a scary situation for a lot of people," says Carden.

Offenders can be right under your nose and even lurk in public places like the neighborhood playground, but there are ways for parents to know who's who and where they live. "You can actually access that on the Internet and check to see what offenders and they are listed by county," says Lieutenant Jim Sexton of the Dougherty County Police Department.

There's also pictures and addresses of any sexual offenders, a way for parents and children to be educated about their surroundings. But education should also begin in the home and parents should be in the know. "First of all, where your child is, who they're with, sort of the good supervision of a parent is very important," says Carden.

Also look out for any drastic changes in behavior or inappropriate sexual talk. They could be sure signs. "By the time you see these kinds of changes, there's generally something that has happened or that is getting ready to happen," says Carden.

Lieutenant Sexton says if a child says it happened, "Believe them until you find out otherwise especially younger children."

It could make a difference and a child admitting they've been abused is a huge step. The sex offender registry allows anyone in Georgia to find out if a sex offender lives nearby.

You're able to search by any county in the state. The website also helps police to keep track of who's who in the state.

 

posted by len.kiese@walb.com