Subscribe

Protecting Your Children From Sexual Predators

Protecting Your Children From Sexual Predators

Over the past few years, we have seen horrible stories pertaining to children who were abused by either those they trusted or others, whom they felt they could trust.  In recent months, the singer R. Kelly has once again come under attack for abusive behavior with children.  He has been accused of holding children against their will, sexually abusing girls,  and emotionally manipulating them to maintain control over them.  Whether or not these allegations are true will be up to those who bring forth charges, if charges are brought. We are writing this article as the first of a three part series to provide some helpful tips on protecting your children from sexual predators.

Most sexual predators are not famous like R. Kelly.  They are people that can fly under the radar.  This makes it difficult for parents to detect which is why they can harm a child in the first place. There are basically three groups of abusers according to the FBI. Interfamilial, acquaintance and stranger.  This article will focus on our first group- Interfamilial. In researching this series, we relied on the experts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children™.

Interfamilial

First we will consider those who are in the child’s regular life.  These are what the FBI refers to as “Interfamilial” abusers.  They abusers are related to the child in some fashion by either blood or marriage.  They are the aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, grandparents, etc.  In extreme instances, pedophiles will marry simply to have access to children that he or she can abuse.

Protecting your child against those in the family can be a bit tricky.  The offender gains the child’s trust.  This usually leads to manipulation of the child by making him or her feel special.  It may be through gifts or special time together.  It can also be through more obvious forms of manipulation such as telling the child that they have a special bond.  He may also use threats.  “What would your mom or dad think of you if they knew of what you have been doing?”  Either way, the child may hold the information to him or herself.  The abuse continues.

When it’s a more distant relative, it can start with creepy hugs or groping.  Let’s discuss that.  We have always taught our children to respect everyone, especially those who visit our home and those that we visit, right?  Well, sometimes our children sense a strangeness in someone. It does NOT mean that because the child thinks the Uncle smells funny there is anything inappropriate going on, but sometimes it DOES. Sometimes children are just being children, but sometimes children are correct that something feels wrong as someone is “hugging” them.

Safety Tips

Here are a few tips:

  • Keep a VERY close eye on the child(ren) when others are around so that they are not alone with them, especially if they have commented about feeling strange
  • Ask them for more details on what “strange” means.  If they say “always wanting extra hugs, touching, sitting in laps,” you can view this behavior personally.  If the relative does not do this when you are around, take note of it.  Teach the child to politely and respectfully decline anything more than a handshake in the future or do a bit more research on this individual. If there is something inappropriate going on, this may not be the first time this individual is doing this
  • Always keep an open dialogue with your child.  This is the most critical part.  Your child needs to know that he or she can tell you anything – even if someone in your family or someone close to you is harming them or trying to harm them.
  • Make sure you listen to the clues your child may be telling you.  Small children don’t know the right words.  If they are describing a “game” they play with an adult, be sure you know about that game and confirm that it’s a harmless game.

Remember that abuse is a very serious accusation.  Ask questions and get the details required to know as much as you can.  Comfort your child and make sure that they know it’s okay to tell you anything.   Don’t panic.  Seek the help of a mental health professional.   Consult your pediatrician.  Talk to your attorney.

If you are divorced or seperated and suspect there is abuse involving your child, take notes of anything the child has told you.  Take photos of any injuries and get your child to a doctor as soon as possible.  If you have legal representation, contact your lawyer as well.  If you are in need of an attorney, contact me here.  We will work together for a solution that puts your children first so that you can rest assured that you are doing everything within the law to protect them.

Be sure to check out our next article on Protecting Your Child from Acquaintance Predators – Coming Soon!

References:

Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

FBI: Protecting your kids

Rape and Incest National Network Organization

 

How to Build Financial Security When Facing Divorce

How to Build Financial Security When Facing Divorce If you see divorce or separation looming in your future, there are ways to plan ahead and build financial security to prepare for what could be a financially difficult time ahead.   Here are some tips for you to...

What Happens to the Family Home in a Divorce?

A large concern during divorce consultation is the marital home. What will happen? Can I stay? Will I be forced out? Can I afford it? How will the Court decide to which party the home is awarded? The answers to these questions will often determine the outcome of other...

Divorce and Social Media: Don’t

Whether you are simply contemplating the idea of divorce or in the middle of a full-on legal battle, your best bet with your social media accounts is to disconnect them.  Turn them off.  Shut them down.  Stop posting.  Make it impossible for people to post to your...

Massachusetts Contempt: Need to Know

 Massachusetts Contempt: What is it? How do I address it? What are the remedies? I hear people use the word “contempt” all of the time, but there is a lot of confusion about contempt and what to do about contempt. Here’s more information about this issue. What is it? ...

Delphi Murders Update

May 2021 Update: As we all work to keep this case in the headlines for as many eyes as possible, we often see other arrests that may appear to be similar to the person who killed Abby & Libby.  Those persons will be investigated thoroughly by the local police, the...

What To Do (and Not Do) If Your Spouse Is Cheating

It’s a difficult prospect to think that your spouse may have strayed from your marriage.  Most people find this shocking and upsetting, not knowing what to do (and what not to do)  if your spouse is cheating.  It's hard to decide at that moment about your marriage,...

How do you defeat a prenuptial agreement? (The Bobby Flay Story)

How do you defeat a prenuptial agreement? I’m sure that you’ve seen the latest celebrity news scandal about Bobby Flay and his wife, Stephanie March: Bobby allegedly cheated on her with various women and has now filed for divorce (just after being thrown out of the...

Supreme Judicial Court Announces Interim Procedure for Attorney and Self-Represented Party Participation in Juror Voir Dire

Supreme Judicial Court Announces Interim Procedure for Attorney and Self-Represented Party Participation in Juror Voir Dire BOSTON, MA – The Supreme Judicial Court today announced an interim procedure to implement a new statute, St. 2014, Chapter 254, Section 2, which...

Can I have an attorney for mediation?

    Often I have people consult my office that either want to or have agreed to attend mediation (through a court process or otherwise). They tell me that they can “work it all out” or that they “don’t want to argue.” Often people tell me that they...

2017 Child Support Guidelines – Overview

As most of you know, the new version of the child support guidelines has now been released and were effective beginning September 15, 2017.  Every four years, a task force reviews input and issue regarding the guidelines, making changes to accommodate problematic,...

Substance Abuse and Parenting

A parent or other caregiver with an alcohol or drug addiction has a profound impact on their children.  Substance abuse and parenting are more common than most people realize.  Unfortunately, the parent does not always see that his or her behavior is harmful or won’t...

CWOF – May I have another?

A while back I wrote an article telling you about a CWOF. What is it? How does it work? What does it entail? You can check that article out here: What is a CWOF.   Recently I have had a number of questions about the process of CWOF, including whether it can be done a...

Can I Stop Him From Selling Our Home While Child Is Still in School?

Question: My husband moved out of our home two years ago and moved in with another woman. We have guardianship of my granddaughter who will be graduating from high school in 2018. she is going to be going to college after she graduates. My husband said that as soon as...

What are temporary orders in Massachusetts?

What are temporary orders in Massachusetts? ​When a divorce begins, rarely do the parties consider temporary orders in Massachusetts to be a necessity, however they ask the court for many things.  When the divorce begins, the parties rarely sit in a position to agree...

Paternity: How can I establish paternity of my child?

If you are wondering how to establish paternity of your child, chances are, you have read up on some of the variety of ways and may have become confused on the right path to take.  There are a number of valid ways you can go about this and there are good reasons on...

Family Vacation After the Divorce

The reality of a divorce or separation often hits families the hardest over holidays and vacation time.  Family vacations may have been where many memories were created over the years.  Now, after a breakup of the family, it's an emotional time since nobody is quite...

Blanchette: Case on Appeal

Recently the New Hampshire Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Ernest Justin Blanchette, a former deputy sheriff charged with sexual assault of an inmate during transport from the Belknap County jail to the state prison for women in Goffstown. This case shows...

Why Do I Need an Estate Plan?

Recall in our first article on estate planning that we introduced you to some general information question about estate planning.  Let’s start our series out now with a very basic question: Why do I need an estate plan? This is a very reasonable question! I think that...

What Constitutes Parental Abduction?

It's a sickening thought, wondering if your child may be abducted by your ex-spouse and taken without your consent, outside of the court's order, maybe even across state lines. Parental abduction is a form of kidnapping in many states.  But what are your legal rights...

Estate Planning in Detail

Since estate planning is on my mind this week, I decided to feature a series of blogs that will give information about the many areas of estate planning in detail.  With these general guidelines and information, it is my hope to lessen the stigma of estate planning so...

Letting Go After Your Divorce

Divorce can be devastating even when both parties agree. Letting go after your divorce is difficult at best.  It's an emotional roller coaster, particularly when children are involved.  Sometimes, one party has been the "fixer" in the relationship; the one who has...

Can my spouse take my inheritance when we divorce?

Can my spouse take my inheritance when we divorce? Often my clients arrive concerned for their divorce consultations and are very worried about their spouse taking an inheritance that they received during the marriage. Will my husband take a portion of this money when...

Can my wife take my inheritance in the divorce?

Very popular question!  I often get this question - can my wife take my inheritance in the divorce? or can my husband take my inheritance in the divorce? In my experience, most judges look to keep “family money” within a family.  If your parents saved their entire...

Visitation Part 2: Pick up, Drop off and Last Minute Schedule Changes

It’s very rare that parties to a divorce, or parents who are no longer in a relationship, get along very well. After all, if you did, you’d likely still be together, right? It is more typically the case that parents do NOT get along. As a result, dealing with...

Divorce Without Consent: Can I divorce without my spouse’s consent?

A very common question is whether you can get divorce without consent.  Of course! The old adage that you need your spouse to “give you a divorce” is no longer. You can proceed with a divorce even if the other party does not want to divorce. You don’t need a spouse’s...

Divorce and Drama…oh the Drama!

We laugh about it when we see it on TV.  We shake our heads in disbelief when our friends tell us about it in their lives.  But suddenly, you find yourself in the midst of a divorce and right smack in the middle of a real life reality drama series just like those made...

Filing a Protective Order: Preparing to Leave

Filing a protective order is an extremely difficult decision.  It takes a toll physically and emotionally on a person.  After the filing, many decisions still have yet to be finalized.  This article is not intended to override your existing plans regarding self help;...

If I signed my parental rights away can I get them back?

I often get questions from overwhelmed parents who feel that, for one reason or another, it would be in the best interest of everyone concerned, if they just give up their parental rights (see my other article for more details on this complex subject).  However, many...

Absent Parents: The Parent Who Used to be Absent

Absent parents is a topic that I see frequently in my practice. Here’s a perfect example: Mom was pregnant but dad wanted nothing to do with her, or the baby, during pregnancy and for a while thereafter. At some point, for whatever reason, the dad becomes interested...

What Happens If a Spouse Dies During Divorce

Over the past few days, we’ve seen a “celebrated” story that reminds me of a topic that arises every so often within my practice.  Have you seen the stories about Lamar Odom fighting for his life after being found unresponsive earlier this week?  The media reports...

I Want Her Out Now!

I want him/her out - now! When a married couple agrees to divorce, it signals the end of the union. However, it is easy to recognize that there are still many unanswered questions. I am often  asked this question by one of the parties: "We have already agreed the...

Do I have to pay child support without a court order?

Do I have to pay child support without a court order?  This is a question that I see often in my practice. The answer is two-fold: there’s the legal advice and the practical advice. Picture this:  you and your partner have separated. You’ve moved out of the home. ...

Keep Your Divorce A Private Matter

You have probably seen it in the news.  Johnny Depp and his wife are divorcing.  You may have even searched for details of the settlement.  After all, he's bound to be worth millions (or more!?)!!  How are they going to split that vast estate?  Well, you may have...

Should You Date Before Your Divorce Is Final?

You filed a Complaint for Divorce and are ready to move on with your life. Should you date before your divorce is final?  Can dating someone hurt you while you are going through the divorce process? Could dating hurt you at all? Although it is always best to wait...

My best divorce advice: Don’t listen to your family & friends!

Sounds silly, right? It’s the best divorce advice that any attorney can give is don't listen to your family & friends. Your family and friends always want what’s best for you. They are there to love and support you. You look to them for help and guidance. When you...

Why Family Should Not Provide Your Legal Representation

It's a common situation.  A person is in need of legal representation for one reason or another, and because of restricted funds, reaches out to a family member who is also an attorney.  The family member, be it a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, parent or child, wants...

Termination of Parental Rights

Separation and divorce are never easy times for a couple in distress.  Couples may be disagreeing over money, their relationship and everything in between.  I often receive calls asking about the "termination of parental rights".  What I learn after listening to the...

Post Divorce Parenting: Helping Your Child Succeed

Life for a child of divorce can feel like a war zone. They often feel torn between two people who have completely different opinions and different life styles. The rules can vary from household to household which leaves the child with a sense of confusion and anger....

Massachusetts: How does Separate Support Differ from Divorce?

In Massachusetts, I am often asked about the difference between Separate Support and Divorce.  Actions for Separate Support and Divorce are two very distinct options that are separate filings in the Probate & Family Court. It is important to understand the...

Creating an Irrevocable Trust Can Save Your Loved Ones

The words "irrevocable trust" often seem intimidating to many of my clients.  However, when used properly, this can be an effective estate planning tool.   If designed properly, it can prevent an estate from staying tied up in probate for years.  It can help families...

New Hampshire: Child Impact Seminar – Updated Link

In New Hampshire, all parties to a divorce, or any case that surrounds parental rights, activities and/or responsibilities, must attend the Child Impact Program. This program is an educational program.  It is four hours long and discusses methods to help your child...

Brangelina: What If They Divorced in Massachusetts?

I can’t imagine you’ve listened to the news or radio over the past week without having heard something about the pending divorce of Brad Pitt and Angelia Jolie.  The two separated recently and Jolie filed for divorce.  It's become a nasty case with all sorts of...

Legal Meaning of the Cosby Mistrial

I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that Bill Cosby’s trial resulted in a mistrial on Saturday.   The jury came back to the judge, for the second time, on Saturday and informed him that they could not reach a verdict.  As a result, the Court declared a “mistrial.” So,...

Why do I need a Will?

Why do I need a Will? Welcome back to my series on estate planning. In case you are just joining me, I want to let you know that we are mid-series in a string of articles about estate planning. Page back to Why do I need an Estate  and see what you’ve missed and stick...

Myths of Divorce

If you are considering divorce or even in the middle of one, it's critical that you are receiving good advice.  Advice from family and friends may seem helpful but can lead you down the wrong path.  Tips from the bar around the corner are even worse and sometimes...

Who wants a Life Estate?

I am sure that you’ve all heard the recent news that Hugh Hefner put the Playboy Mansion up for sale.  For a mere $200 mill, you can purchase the mansion and call it your own – with one catch!  Hugh will live out the remainder of his life at the mansion before you can...

Can I Keep My Home

In the first part of this series, we discussed the marital home and what happens in a divorce to that home.  Click here for our last article- What Happens to the Family Home in a Divorce.  Continuing that series, we will start with the next question which involves...

Modification: The In’s and Out’s

As life changes, you may find yourself in a situation where your current order (or judgment) no longer applies to your circumstances or seems fair, given your life changes. If you find yourself in this situation, speak with an attorney to determine if you would...

Domestic Abuse During a Pandemic

The year 2020 is now behind us but in many ways, we are still living through a full scale pandemic.  COVID-19 hit this world  and affected us in a large number of ways we did not expect.  For many, being forced to stay in their homes, brought on anxiety, depression...

Massachusetts Divorce: “What’s this going to cost me?”

   Whether you’re the husband or the wife, the bread winner or the stay-at-home parent, cost is typically a factor in consideration of a divorce. At some point during every consultation, a person turns to me and says “So, what’s this going to cost me?” My response is...

Pin It on Pinterest

Read previous post:
Can I Live in Studio Apt with 11 Year Old

Q:  Can I live in a studio apartment in Massachusetts and have my 11 year old stay with me? Like...

Close