Letting someone know that their worrisome behaviors are not invisible to others can be an effective measure in helping an adult stay safe from crossing the line with a child. Some adults do not understand fully what behavior is appropriate with children and benefit from honest conversations with concerned adults. If you’re not sure if someone is a risk to a child, you might consider having a direct conversation about your concerns, while offering your support and local professional referrals as well.
See our Let’s Talk guidebook for specific guidance on how to begin this type of difficult conversation with someone you care about. Review the warning signs and so long as it does not put your physical safety at risk, speak respectfully and frankly to this person about specific behaviors or attitudes which concern you.
Helping someone who you realize is at-risk to sexually abuse a child
If you are living with or spend time with an adult who you are concerned may be sexually inappropriate with a child, it is important to recognize that this adult needs assistance from a professional, and supervision from other informed adults to stay safe. It is important to seek professional help and not manage an adult who is at-risk to be sexually inappropriate or harmful with children by yourself.
The likely errors in judgement and manipulative patterns can be confusing and complex to everyone involved – to adults and children. Risk to sexually abuse can sometimes be complicated by things such as mental health issues, addiction struggles, substance abuse, significant stress, or the personal trauma history of the adult at risk to abuse. Find help. If a child is in immediate risk or has been abused, notify the authorities with a report[insert link to Gateway reporting list]. A professional therapist for adults with sexual interest in children can offer guidance and basic safety planning measures you can take right away if you already know there may be a risk to a child.