Recognizing Adults Who May Abuse
By Colleen Sulsberger
a. Take note of an adult who always seems to want to be with children more than they want to be with other adults, or who attempts to isolate a particular child such as asking the child to remain after school or attend special coaching sessions. There are few if any situations that demand that an adult have alone time with a child. Bring your concerns to the attention of the adult in question; if the behavior continues, take your concerns to the principal or supervisor.
c. Abusers often groom families for months or years in order to gain their trust and eventually, access to their child. Be wary of an adult who wants to give your child expensive gifts, take them on trips, or gives them excessive or special attention. Again, use common sense when defining these limits and have a frank discussion with your child and with any family friend or relative if you become concerned about excessive attention or gifts.
d. Abusers are often people who feel that rules do not apply to them. Although this warning sign may not be as obvious, take notice of people who always seem to think they do not need to follow the rules. Failure to obey obvious rules is easy to identify. Ignoring social amenities may be more difficult to identify. Notice, for example, people who are chronically late and think the group should catch them up or start over, and those who refuse to turn off cell phones and pagers upon request. These adults are among those who deserve special attention when they interact with children.
Contact the Safe Environment office at 712 233 7517 or e mail Colleen at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Sulsberger is the Safe Environment Coordinator for the Diocese of Sioux City. Contact the Safe Environment office at (712) 233-7517 or e-mail Colleen at email@example.com.)
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