I have been reporting about Missing Children since 2008 beginning with the little 2 year old Florida girl, Caylee Anthony who had been missing for 30 days before her grandmother finally called 911 and reported it. Caylee’s mother was arrested and was charged with murder of her daughter. She faced a much publicized trial and unfortunately she was found not guilty (note that she was NOT found INNOCENT though) by a panel of jurors. Most of the world feels she is guilty of killing her little girl and dumping her body in the woods to rot and to let the animals feed off her little body but we are told that because a jury panel tells us to let her go, she is to be set free.

The more I think about this, I have to ask myself. With all the evidence against this young mother, it couldn’t get her convicted of murdering her daughter. How many other people are set free for crimes they have committed, only to go back out in the world to commit the same kind of crime on another victim?

I started doing some research online and found a few statistics that really shocked me. Thinking about sex offenders in our world, how many of these cases are reported to the authorities? One report I found quoted this:

It is estimated that less than half of all sexual assaults on children are reported to the police. The generally lower rate for male sex abuse may be largely inaccurate due to underreporting. Because men are traditionally encouraged to be physically strong and competitive, male victims may be more hesitant to report sexual abuse because they feel they are “less of a man

Another quote I found was by the President of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

There are 400,000 registered sex offenders in the United States, and an estimated 80 to 100,000 of them are missing. They’re supposed to be registered, but we don’t know where they are and we don’t know where they’re living.

When we think of a Child Offender we usually think about grown men or women generally, but that just isn’t always the case.  I found this list that really surprised me as well.

Do kids and teens ever sexually abuse other children?

Sadly, yes – and many of these juvenile offenders are victims of sexual abuse themselves. A U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics report* found that:

• 23% of all sexual offenders were under the age of 18.
• 40% of offenders of victims under age 6 were themselves juveniles
• 13% were 7-11 years old; 27% were 12-17 years old.
• 39% of the offenders of victims ages 7-11 were juveniles.
• 27% of the offenders of victims ages 12 -17 were juveniles.

What types of assaults were these?

Juvenile offenders under the age of 12 were responsible for:

• 23% of forcible sodomies
• 19% of forcible fondlings
• 17% of sexual assaults with an object
• 7% of forcible rapes

Juvenile offenders ages 12 – 18 were responsible for:

• 36% of forcible sodomies
• 27% of forcible fondlings
• 23% of sexual assaults with an object
• 17% of forcible rapes

I would say this is all out of control and something needs to be done to protect our children. What is the answer? I don’t know but I do know that parents need to talk to their children at an early age that if something like this happens to them, nothing is going to happen to the parents, no one will be mad at them and no matter what they shouldn’t be afraid to tell someone, is someone else has done something to them like abusing them.

There are different types of abuse though.

Each state provides its own definitions of child abuse within civil and criminal statutes, but they are informed by the following definitions of various forms of child abuse:

Physical. A non-accidental physical injury as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, shaking, throwing, stabbing, choking, hitting, burning or otherwise harming a child, that is inflicted by a parent, caregiver or other person who has responsibility for the child. Such injury is considered abuse regardless of whether the caregiver intended to hurt the child.

Sexual. A form of child abuse that includes any sexual act performed with a child by an adult or older child, with or without force or threat of force. It may start as seemingly innocent touching and progress to more serious acts, including verbal seduction or abuse, anal or vaginal intercourse, oral sex, sodomy, manual stimulation, direct threats, implied threats or other forms of abuse.

Emotional. A pattern of behavior that impairs a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth. This form of abuse is almost always present when other forms of abuse are identified. It may include constant criticism, threats or rejection, as well as withholding love, support or guidance. Emotional abuse is often difficult to prove and, therefore, Child Protective services may not be able to intervene without clear evidence of harm to the child.

Psychological. This is a pattern of behavior that affects a child’s sense of worth by communicating to the child that he or she is not worthy, loved or important. Psychological abuse may include harsh demands, constant criticism, threats and yelling. Witnessing other violent incidents such as, domestic violence or school violence is also a form of psychological abuse due to the intense fear it produces and the indirect threat to a child’s safety.

For now we need to make ourselves more aware of child abuse. Don’t deny that it could possibly be done in your own home, or by close friends even. Don’t think it is always a stranger. I am not saying you shouldn’t believe in your family and friends, but talk to your children and make sure they know they can come to you if someone does something to them that hurt them.

It is important though that you believe them and don’t think they are too young to lie about these kinds of things. A 4 or 5 year old child doesn’t know how to lie about such things unless of course someone has coached them into saying things. It is our job as parents to learn the symptoms of an abused child. Investigate the allegations yourself before accusing someone, because a false accusation can ruin an innocent person’s life. Gather obvious evidence before presenting it to the authorities and have someone with you when questioning the child. This is needed to protect you.

In today’s world the accusing parent can always have the accusations reversed against them if you are not careful and if you are being accused them who will be left to protect your child? So please be careful. We should not have to be in this kind of a position but these days we have to be. I have seen too many child abusing cases twisted to make the innocent look guilty only to let the guilty go free.

The main goal here is to find a way to protect the children here. They are our future and they are precious to us. They are the ones to have to deal with this world when we are gone. Let’s do our best to try to keep them safe. I pray for all the little children, remember Jesus loves them all!

Jan Barrett

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