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Protect children from predators
Health advice
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April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and this year's slogan of Promoting Healthy Families in Your Community  offers a new dimension if you look at the issue of protecting your children from child predators in your community.
According to Department of Justice, approximately 400,000 convicted pedophiles live in the United States.  Of these, 14,629 live in Georgia with 72 in Liberty County, 24 in Long County and 20 in Bryan County. That is alarming enough, but if you consider that less than 10 percent of sexual abuse is reported it is extremely disturbing. How many predators have not been caught?
The American Medical Association defines child sexual abuse as "the engagement of a child in sexual activities for which the child is developmentally unprepared and cannot give informed consent. Child sexual abuse is characterized by deception, force or coercion.
When asked what he looked for, one sexual predator said, "Give me a kid who knows nothing about sex, and you've given me my next victim."
Emory University psychiatrist Dr. Gene Abel, in interviews guaranteeing confidentiality and immunity from prosecution, discovered that male offenders who abused girls had an average of 52 victims each while men who molested boys had an unbelievable average of 150 victims each.  Of those interviewed, only 3 percent of the crimes had ever been detected.
Due to the nature of their sexual addiction, few pedophiles are able to resist their powerful urges to initiate contact with children and will go to great lengths to do so. Common strategies include:
• Befriending parents, especially single parents, in an effort to gain access to their children.
• Offering babysitting services.
• Taking jobs and participating in community events that involve children.
• Attending sporting events for children and/or offering to coach children's sports.
• Volunteering in youth organizations and offering to chaperone overnight trips.
• Loitering in places children frequent such as playgrounds, malls, game arcades, etc.
• Spending time in Internet gaming and social communities and learning the online interests and lingo of youngsters.

Here are tips on protecting children:
1) Teach your child their full name, address, phone number with area code, parents' names and work phone numbers. Also practice how to make an emergency call to you or 911 from a pay phone.
2) Children should be taught at an early age what type of "stranger" is OK to ask for help when they are lost or frightened. Examples; a mother with children, a counter clerk in a store or a uniformed police officer.
3) Children should always inform you before they go anywhere. This applies to older children as well since they are equally at risk to abduction.
4) Never let your children go anywhere alone. Remind them that there is safety in numbers and they should always use the buddy system.
5) Children should be taught not to go near cars or be lured by adults asking for directions, help finding something they lost, or by telling them their parents are in trouble and that they will take them to mom or dad.
6) Children can be very trusting of adults, especially adults whom they may be somewhat familiar with. It is critical that you and your child have a password system. Pick a password that is both easy for your child to remember and something that is not easy for a stranger to determine. Share the password only with your child, family members and trusted friends.
7) Parents should seize opportunities to reinforce safety skills. If an incident occurs in your community, speak frankly about it and use this time to discuss and re-emphasize the safety rules with them. Be sure to comfort them with the fact that there is always someone who can help them. Visit for prevention materials.
8) In case of an emergency, it is imperative that identifying information a readily available, up-to-date record is kept. Records should include a photograph, fingerprints, physical attributes and even a DNA sample. The easiest way to keep up-to-date records on your child is with a child ID kit.
9) Time is critical in abduction cases. When you cannot find your child, you should immediately call law enforcement and provide your child's name, date of birth, height, weight and any distinctive marks. Request that your child's information be immediately entered into the National Crime Information Center's Missing Person File. After you have reported your child missing, call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST.
For more information, visit the National Alert Registry at or go to the U.S. Department of Justice's National Sexual Offender Public Registry website at The Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Sex-Offender Registry is also available at

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