Do NOT let A Predator Make Your Child a Victim

As Parents we want to protect our children from all harm and evil! We can’t! But we can be informed and keep our children savvy and enlightened!

Predator pic1There are predators out there and our children are their targets. What I’m going to talk about will shock and horrify you. It will make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. Some of you might even want to stop reading here because this is the subject of horror movies and nightmares. This is something most of us would rather die than imagine happen to our children. But I implore you to continue, this is too important to ignore.

As a medical professional, I have seen firsthand the toll something like this can take on a child. The effects are devastating and life long. The incidence of crimes against children is on the rise. I’m sorry to have to tell you that unfortunately the times we live in are too dangerous to turn a blind eye.

I have some staggering statistics that are probably going to make you sick. I also have some tools to EMPOWER YOU and your CHILDREN! You do not need to be a helpless victim!

According to family watchdog an online Sex Offender Registry

  • 1 of 5 girls and 1 of 6 boys will be molested before their 18th birthday.
  • 90% of all sexual assaults against children are committed by someone whom the victim knew.
  • The typical sexual predator will assault 117 times before being caught.
  • The re-arrest rate for convicted child molesters is 52%.
  • That your child will become a victim of a sex offender is 1 in 3 for girls & 1 in 6 for boys. **Source: The National Center for Victims of Crime
  • Over 2,000 children are reported missing every day.

Background on Registered Sex Offender Laws:

The U.S. Congress has passed several laws that require states to monitor registered sex offenders; the Jacob Wetterling Crimes against Children Act, the Pam Lychner Sex Offender tracking and Identification Act and Megan’s Law.

On March 5, 2003, The Supreme Court ruled that information about registered sex offenders may be posted on the Internet. Good for us!

Let’s take advantage of these laws!!! This is Not about Vigilantism! This is about being INFORMED! This is about KNOWING where REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS in YOUR AREA LIVE and WORK!!

Here are some excellent places to start:

  • National Sex Offender Public Website where you can search by name
  • National Alert Registry
  • Search for Sex Offenders in your area if there are offenders in your area there is a key to show you where they work and where they live. You can click on these boxes and a picture of the offender will pop up.
  • iTouch also has 2 great applications! 1 is free. It allows you to download 3 free searches of Registered Sex offenders in your Area. For a Small one time fee you can download the full program which lets you search whatever zip code you want! This would be very useful while traveling!
  • The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children “NCMEC” is a WEALTH of information!! As the nation’s resource center for protecting children they have NUMEROUS free online downloadable publications that EVERY parent needs to take advantage of! Their prevention and safety education programs and materials contain information and tips that will help you keep your children safer. I suggest you go to this site at your leisure and READ READ READ!! It could very well save you some heartache!

For decades, children were taught to stay away from “strangers.” But this concept is difficult for children to grasp and often the perpetrator is someone the child knows. It is more beneficial to help build Children’s confidence and teach them to respond to a potentially dangerous situation, rather than teaching them to look out for a particular type of person.

Here are some tips to help you take some first steps to help them avoid becoming a victim:

  • Make sure you know where each of your children is at all times. Know your children’s friends and be clear with your children about the places and homes they may visit. Make it a rule for your children to check-in with you when they arrive at or depart from a particular location and when there is a change in plans. You should also let them know when Predators - NCMECyou’re running late or if your plans have changed to show the rule is for safety purposes and not being used to “check up” on them.
  • Never leave children unattended in a vehicle, whether it is running or not. Children should never be left unsupervised or allowed to spend time alone or with others in vehicles as the potential dangers to their safety outweigh any perceived convenience or “fun.” Remind children to never hitchhike, approach a vehicle, or engage in a conversation with anyone within a vehicle they do not know and trust. Also they should never go anywhere with anyone without first getting your permission.
  • Be involved in your children’s activities. As an active participant you’ll have a better opportunity to observe how the adults in charge interact with your children. If you are concerned about anyone’s behavior, take it up with the sponsoring organization.
  • Listen to your children. Pay attention if they tell you they don’t want to be with someone or go somewhere. This may be an indication of more than a personality conflict or lack of interest in the activity or event.
  • Notice when anyone shows one or all of your children a great deal of attention or begins giving them gifts. Take the time to talk to your children about the person and find out why that person is acting in this way.
  • Teach your children they have the right to say NO to any unwelcome, uncomfortable, or confusing touch or actions by others and get out of those situations as quickly as possible. If avoidance is not an option, children should be taught to kick, scream, and resist. When in such a situation, teach them to loudly yell, “This person is not my father/mother/guardian,” and then immediately tell you if this happens. Reassure them you’re there to help and it is okay to tell you anything.
  • Be sensitive to any changes in your children’s behavior or attitude. Encourage open communication and learn how to be an active listener. Look and listen to small cues and clues indicating something may be troubling your children, because children are not always comfortable disclosing disturbing events or feelings. This may be because they are concerned about your reaction to their problems. If your children do confide problems to you, strive to remain calm, reassuring, and nonjudgmental. Listen compassionately to their concern, and work with them to get the help they need to resolve the problem.
  • Be sure to screen babysitters and caregivers. Many jurisdictions now have a public registry allowing parents and guardians to check out individuals for prior criminal records and sex offenses. Check references with other families who have used the caregiver or babysitter. Once you have chosen the caregiver, drop in unexpectedly to see how your children are doing. Ask your children how the experience with the caregiver was, and carefully listen to the responses.
  • Practice basic safety skills with your children. Make an outing to a mall or park a “teachable” experience in which your children practice checking with you, using pay telephones, going to the restroom with a friend, and locating the adults who may be able to help if they need assistance. Remember, allowing your children to wear clothing or carry items in public on which their name is displayed may bring about unwelcome attention from inappropriate people looking for a way to start a conversation with your children.
  • Remember there is no substitute for your attention and supervision. Being available and taking time to really know and listen to your children helps build feelings of safety and security. 1

In conclusion, YOU HAVE A RIGHT to keep your children safe!

  • You have the right to know if Registered Sex Offenders are in your neighborhood! Be aware! Predator pic-addl
    • Check the registry by location for sex offenders located near Daycare centers, Schools, Camps, Church or anyplace you may be leaving your children, even Grandma and Grandpa’s house.
    • Check the registry by name for Church Officials, Teachers, Neighbors, Counselors, Private instruction Tutors, Bus Drivers, after school Activities leaders, Coaches etc.
    • Check them often. Take nothing for granted. Everyone is suspect.
  • Consult NCMEC’s prevention and safety education programs and materials for additional steps you and your children can take to help them feel empowered, and to know what they can do if they find themselves in a situation where they feel scared or compromised.
  • Finally, observe and listen; and TEACH CHILDREN to recognize and respond to anything that scares them. Children are very perceptive by nature. You are not ruining their childhood by talking to them when they are young. You may just be saving it!

Sex offenders place themselves in situations where children are! They make themselves appeal to children. This is NO Accident! Be SAVVY. We have the tools to fight these predators! LET’S USE THEM!

Leslie Mayorga R.N. BSN

1 “Know the Rules…General Tips for Parents and Guardians to Help Keep Their Children Safer” National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

About the Author

Leslie Mayorga R.N. BSN is a Registered Nurse with an AAS in Nursing and BSN. Her areas of expertise include NICU, Pediatrics, Home Health Care, and Special Education. She is a Child Advocate and worked in conjunction with CPS in New York State. Find her at is a former member of the PedSafe Expert team


17 Responses to “Do NOT let A Predator Make Your Child a Victim”

  1. Jennifer says:

    This is such an important but heart wrenching post. Thank you for a wonderful article with some wonderful tips and resources. It is so very scary, that even though we watch our children carefully, these things can still happen. These tips, links and resources are invaluable to us as parents and should be kept on hand. I check the predator list often, as I want to know who lives near us, who is at our parks and who is generally considered unsafe.

    Thank you…

  2. Mrs. Cox says:

    Well written — I will do absolutely everything in my power to make sure nothing like this ever happens to my daughter. I think parents also need to bring back what we called the “kid code” a code only your family knows that is a safe word to use in case of an emergency. So if someone approaches your child and suggests they come with them because their parents were hurt in an accident the child says “what’s the kid code?” and if the person doesn’t know it then they know to get help and stay away from that person. We used our kid code before we answered the door for people we didn’t recognize too.

  3. Wow! What a well though out article. This hits home for me, as I went through something like this as a child. Count me as the 1 from the 1 in 6. My daughter has a special code that only people who know are allowed to pick her up. Also, I always check the registry’s. But I’ve never thought to check the people that play a role in my daughters life by name. I will be doing so now. Thank you for reliving this so everyone can be safe.

  4. Leslie, Mrs. Mayorga

    This is a tough subject to tackle, for me personally as this effects my family in a very personal way.
    Having said that, you did this brilliantly. Your insight, facts and MUST GET THE WORD OUT approach made a painful subject for many easier to bear.

    Parents, I was one of those who thought “not my child” “can’t happen to me” – It can! it does! There are things we MUST do to protect our children. AWARENESS is key to all of this.

    We learned this lesson the hard way – a way that too many of us have learned, and not another should have to.

  5. Sky says:

    Excellent article! I take great strides to ensure my childrens safety, and yet I hear my son complain over and over and over that the neighbor kids don’t have to go through any of this. I know one day he will appreciate all we have done for him! He has his own kid-code, and thankfully we’ve never had to use it. It’s still very, very important.

    It’s so important to use the resources out there…that’s what they are there for!

    Again, excellent article!

  6. Andrea Lambert says:

    Leslie thanks for writing on a touchy subject. It truly breaks my heart to think that 1 in 5 lil’ girls and 1 in 6 lil’ boys will experience a predator. We as parents need to know whats around us at all times so we are fully able to protect our lil’ one’s with the help of God. I always think of protecting my little girl and it’s never crossed my mind that I needed to protect my 15 year old boy like I do my daughter until this! Geeze this heart breaking! Thanks again

  7. pat.navymom says:

    This post was terrific A++. The only thing perhaps left unsaid is that a child is anything from an infant to an adult. Many adolescents are victimized. Many parents think their child is all grown up and thus safe. Thank you for putting this forth professionally.

  8. leslie says:

    What a great and informative article. A sad sight I saw the other day, at our local park, in the bathrooms, they have a board with photos of sexual predators up.Sad soooo sad

  9. valerie2350 says:

    Thank you – excellent information.

    Makes my stomach churn to think about it, but….it is reality and it’s important to be aware and prepared.

  10. maria says:

    As a child of sexual abuse (now 43), it has been something that weighs very heavy on me now that I have children. Talking about private areas and how they have the right to say “NO” has become my mission since they have been able to understand. Keeping things on their level is important but stressing how their private area is THEIR private area is important.

    Leslie, thank you for including the numbers for boys. When my friends and I discuss sexual abuse they all tell me how they have all talked to their daughters but I feel I am constantly reminding them that they need to have the same conversation with their sons. It is scary how many people that I know personally have been molested. It scares me to think that my son or daughter may one day experience such a devastating violation and I hope and pray it never happens to them. I am on constant watch for any signs and so far they haven’t been out of my sight but as they get older and enter school my concern gets stronger.

  11. Helen233 says:

    excellent article, I know there are two predators close to my home.
    It is scary, we must be informed and know. Another thing I would like to add is to find out if your area is
    known for child prostituition. Atlanta is high on the list for this crime and children are kdinapped.
    Don’t allow your teen daughters to go the mall alone.

    Great article Leslie, you are truly a literary genius Thank you for writing this article and I PRAY it will help moms and dads keep their kids safe

  12. Sondra says:

    I really appreciate this article and all the information you provided. I am passing the link on to every parent that I know!! The statistics are heart-breaking but if we can get the word out and be aware then maybe we can improve them and save some children!!! Thank you so much!

    • Hematech says:

      Thanks for getting this important Info and topic in a spotlight. Information dissemination and awareness are our best defence to keep all kids safe. You very eloquintly conveyed a strong message about subject matter that touches many in a personal way. I look forward to reading more of your material and the comments of other concerned citizens.

  13. JoeyfromSC says:

    Leslie, this is very well written and you should be proud!! I will pass this on to every parent I know!

    It’s sad that the internet has played such a huge factor into making children much more accessible to predators-Parents really need to get a handle on what their kids do online to help prevent a tragedy!

  14. Pat. says:

    Such saddening statistics. Thank you for sharing this important post and helpful information.

  15. Joie says:

    Very well said!

  16. Cinde says:

    Wonderful article…. such vital information! Thank you for sharing this!

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