POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 115 Sex Offender Profiles A Child Molester is an individual who sexually molests children. For these purposes, child sex offenders are divided into the two categories of Preferential and Opportunistic or Situational Child Molesters. Preferential Child Molester Preferential Child Molesters have a definite sexual preference for children. Their sexual fantasies and erotic imagery focus on children. They have sex with children not because of some situational stress or insecurity but because they are sexually attracted to and prefer children. If this individual does not act on his urges, then he is not a child molester. A preferential child molester is a pedophile. Opportunistic or Situational Child Molester Situational Child Molesters do not have a true sexual preference for children, but engage in sex with children for varied and complex reasons. This type of molester may engage in sex with a child, ranging from a once-in-a-lifetime act to a long-term pattern of behavior. The more long-term the behavior is, the more difficult it is to distinguish from a preferential molester. Members of lower socioeconomic groups tend to be over-represented among situational child molesters. An opportunistic child molester is not classified as a pedophile. Adolescent Offenders An area of increasing attention is that of adolescent offenders. This type of offender can fit the characteristics of the preferential or situational child molester. Adolescent (or younger) offenders should always be viewed as past or current victims of sexual abuse. This may include psychological sexual abuse, inappropriate exposure to sexually explicit materials, and/or the repeated or inappropriate witnessing of adult sexual activity. Question: How does the abuse occur? Answer: Abuse occurs in a wide range of situations and settings. For long-term abusers, often, the child molester will "court" the child with attention, affection, and gifts. Just as one adult courts another during a dating process, the pedophile seduces children over a period of time by gradually lowering their sexual inhibitions. Sometimes the molester will tickle, wrestle, or hug the child in the presence of others first, adding legitimacy to the activity that will occur later in private. Often a child feels guilty or ashamed of the abuse. Children may feel that a short amount of uncomfortable feeling is worth the amount of attention and affection and perceived care they receive from the molester. Excerpted from Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis by Kenneth V. Lanning. Adapted with permission of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Copyright (c) 1992 NCMEC. All rights reserved. Strategies of Sex Offenders Child Predators use a number of techniques to lure children from their homes, schools, or elsewhere. There are, however, a number of common themes that can be watched for. These include the following: Grooming Pedophiles often 'groom' their child victims prior to and during victimization. This involves three general steps - targeting, non-sexual touching, and sexual touching. Targeting Stage Many preferential child molesters have a "6th sense" as to who can be more easily victimized They often target neglected, needy children, often from troubled homes. Parents can be 'groomed' as well. Non-Sexual Touching Stage Often begins with "accidental" touching Introduction to pornography Introduction of alcohol or drugs Sexual Touching Stage Sexually assaultive behaviour, ranging from sexual touching to anal/vaginal intercourse. Excerpted from Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis by Kenneth V. Lanning. (...cont’d)