What if a sexual offender moves into my neighborhood? How do I talk to my child about it?
1.) Show your child a photograph of the offender. Your child needs to know that this person has tried to trick or harm other children before. Your child should also know to never talk to this person and if approached to find mom, dad, or their caregiver immediately.
2.) Practice, practice, practice... A child should be aware of the most common (and some not so common) tricks a predator uses to lure children away with them. There are multiple 'What if...' scenarios that a parent or caregiver can go over and practice with their child. For example:
3.) Give your child the facts. It is always better to provide the facts to a child than to give them vague warnings about an adult or situation. A child's imagination can easily run rampant. Give your child age-appropriate specifics and give them the tools to recognize a dangerous situation and how to handle it.
4.) For special needs children and very young children, be aware that a story with photographs or drawings can help instill safety awareness. A parent or caregiver can create their own 'story book' with photographs of the child, mom, dad, or caregiver, home, police officer, offender, a car, or even the acts of a person handing something to a child with a big 'NO' symbol drawn across the photo. Then the story can be read or shown repeatedly to the child to help them understand dangerous situations.
Basic Child Safety Tips
Talking to Children About Nearby Offenders
Child Sexual Exploitation
Sexual Assault on Campus
Illinois Sexual Offender FAQ
Basic Offender Information For Illinois
Crime Victim Rights Under Illinois Law
Illinois Protection Orders