HONOLULU (KHON2) – Child sexual abuse is a topic many people prefer not to talk about. But the disturbing frequency with which this happens makes it hard to ignore.
According to statistics, one in nine girls and one in 53 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18.
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John Toban, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Honolulu, has been investigating child sex crimes for more than a decade.
“Unfortunately child sexual abuse is more prevalent than we would like.”
Tobon said they don’t really know how many children are abused because many cases go unreported.
But he said the link between social media use and sexual abuse is undeniable.
“It is becoming more and more common as younger and younger children are interacting with unknown individuals and making themselves vulnerable on social media.”
But Tobon said stalkers aren’t only surfing the Web for their victims.
“We’ve seen a number of predators who have been in positions of authority, coaches or individuals who have had something to do with these youth.”
According to statistics, 90% of victims know their abuser.
“It’s really about access to these potential victims and a trust developed between the victims and the person who now really wants to harm them,” Tobon said.
Her advice to parents: Make sure kids’ social media accounts are set to private.
“It immediately reduces the likelihood or the opportunity to target a child,” Tobon explained. “But also be aware of some of the interactions you have with individuals in positions of authority.”
Parents should also watch for changes in their child’s behavior that may mean they are being sexually abused or exploited:
If your child shows signs of discomfort or fear around a family member, friend or authority figure
-His performance in school has declined
– They are withdrawing from friends or there is a change in socialization
-For young children, avoiding someone they used to love or a specific room in the house
-if they exhibit over-sexualised behaviour, language or knowledge that is not appropriate for the child’s age
Click on it contact To learn more about child sexual abuse and the services available for victims of sexual abuse