Sex Crimes Against Children
Sex crimes against children are particularly heinous and unfortunately, underreported. There are numerous Kansas statutes that outline these types of crimes.
Sex crimes against children are, unfortunately, fairly common in the United States. “It is estimated that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will have experienced an episode of sexual abuse while younger than 18 years. The numbers of boys affected may be falsely low because of reporting techniques” (Botash, Ann, MD, Pediatric Annual, May, 1997). 1 It is extremely important that those who may be directly involved with children (ex. teachers, parents, daycare providers, medical providers, law enforcement officers, etc) be very vigilant and know the possible warning signs of a child that might be being abused. Any suspicions of abuse in any form should be reported immediately to local law enforcement by calling 911.
The following statutes deal with sexual crimes against children. Please click on each link for more information. Questions about any of these individual statutes should be directed to your local law enforcement.
If you suspect that a child is the victim of any type of criminal act, including a sexually-based offense, you should immediately contact 911 and request law enforcement officers. The Exploited and Missing Children’s Unit (EMCU) located in downtown Wichita is a unit made up of Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office detectives, SRS social workers, and Wichita Police Department detectives that are dedicated to handling these types of crimes against children. The unit also contains a specialized unit that deals only with internet crimes against children. Those in EMCU have received specialized training in the investigation of these types of crimes and also in interviewing children.
The following are some possible warning signs that adults should be conscious of in children. It should be noted that this is not a comprehensive list and children who are being victimized might exhibit other warning signs than those listed.
Warning Signs of Sexual Abuse in Children
- Trouble walking or sitting. 2
- Displays knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to his or her age, or even seductive behavior. 2
- Makes strong efforts to avoid a specific person, without an obvious reason. 2
- Doesn’t want to change clothes in front of others or participate in physical activities. 2
- An STD or pregnancy, especially under the age of 14. 2
- Runs away from home. 2
What can Parents Do?
It is extremely important that parents/guardians take an active interest in their children’s lives. This includes knowing their children’s friends, teachers, and coaches. It is recommended that parents check their children’s cell phones and possibly even social media sites such as Facebook, MySpace, etc. Parents should have discussions with their children about stranger danger (for younger kids), and internet safety for older children. The following website might be beneficial in discussing internet safety with children: Simple Steps for Internet Safety. There are a number of resources such as books and videos to help parents talk to their kids about these topics.
Protecting Children From Sexual Abuse
- The typical advice "Don't Talk to Strangers" doesn't apply in this case. Most sexual perpetrators are known to their victims. 3
- Do not instruct children to give relatives hugs and kisses. Let them express affection on their own terms. 3
- Teach your children basic sexual education. Teach them that no one should touch the "private" parts of their body. A health professional can also help to communicate sex education to children if parents are uncomfortable doing so. 3
- Develop strong communication skills with your children. Encourage them to ask questions and talk about their experiences. Explain the importance of reporting abuse to you or another trusted adult. 3
- Teach your children that sexual advances from adults are wrong and against the law. Give them the confidence to assert themselves against any adult who attempts to abuse them. 3
- Make an effort to know children's friends and their families. 3
- Instruct your child to never get into a car with anyone without your permission. 3
- Teach your children that their bodies are their own. That it is OK to say they do not want a hug or that certain kinds of contact make them uncomfortable. 3
- It is important to remember that physical force is often not necessary to engage a child in sexual activity. Children are trusting and dependent and will often do what is asked of them to gain approval and love. 3
What Should I Do If My Child Has Been Victimized and I’ve Already Reported It?
If a child has been victimized, it is very important that parents/guardians seek professional mental health assistance for that child. EMCU detectives, primary care physicians, and Sedgwick County COMCARE can all offer a wealth of information on available resources in Sedgwick County. Some national resources where more information may be gathered include:
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Charles B. Wang International Children's Building 699 Prince Street Alexandria, VA 22314-3175 24 hotline: 1-800-THE-LOST http://www.missingkids.com/
Child Help USA
15757 North 78th Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Child Welfare Information Gateway (formerly National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information)
1250 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20024
In conclusion, parents must be aware of their children’s activities and take a hands-on approach in their children’s lives. Family discussions should be had about internet safety and stranger danger depending on the child’s age. If a child is the victim of a sexually related offense it is important for families to know that resources do exist in Sedgwick County to assist them. Child victims are going to need ongoing support and most likely counseling in order to process what has happened to them.
We, at the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, are dedicated to helping citizens combat crime in their neighborhoods. But we need your help! By utilizing crime prevention techniques around your home, work place, and vehicles, you can decrease your chances of becoming a victim! If you have any questions about what you could do to help protect yourself and your property, please call either your Community Liaison Unit at (316) 660-3920 or your Community Policing Unit at (316) 660-0750.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this document is not intended to be legal advice, but is merely intended to convey general information commonly encountered when dealing with the subjects discussed herein. Because laws can change very rapidly, we cannot guarantee that any information on this document (or references contained therein) is current or accurate. Additionally, laws differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and are subject to interpretation of courts located in each county. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case and the information provided herein may not be an appropriate fit for your particular situation. The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, its employees, agents, or others will not be liable or responsible for any claim, loss, injury, liability, or damages related to use of this document or any reference provided herein.
2Saisan MSW, Joanna, Melinda Smith MA, and Jeanne Segal PhD. "Child Abuse & Neglect: Recognizing and Preventing Child Abuse." Helpguide.org: Expert, Ad-free Articles Help Empower You with Knowledge, Support & Hope. Nov. 2010. Web. 24 Feb. 2011. <https://helpguide.org/>.
3"Understanding Child Sexual Abuse: Education, Prevention, and Recovery." American Psychological Association (APA). American Psychological Association (APA). Web. 24 Feb. 2011. <http://www.apa.org/pubs/info/brochures/sex-abuse.aspx>.
Date Written: 02/23/2011
Date Reviewed: 12/03/2013
Written by: Deputy J. Blogref D1520
Reviewed by: J.Page D1642