Friday, November 15, 2013

How To Spot A Child Sex Offender

Forget about the stereotypes that portray child sex offenders as trenchcoat-wearing, playground-leering, monsters with poor hygiene. The reality is that abusers come from a variety of backgrounds and walks of life. Someone who has all the appearances of being a perfectly level-headed individual might have been convicted of some pretty wretched crimes against youngsters. In fact, many sex offenders are able to continue abusing simply because they give no outward signs that they are capable of harming children.

If you’re a parent, how exactly can you identify someone who has committed a sexual assault against a child? It’s not like people wear a sign that says “sex offender” on their shirts. However, once someone is convicted of a sex crime, they are required to register with their state’s sex offender registry. This registry of convicted sex offenders is public information.

Here’s how you can figure out is someone is a registered sex offender.

1) Gather As Much Information As Possible

The more you know about the person you’re suspicious of, the easier it will be to tell if they really have a sex crime on their record. Many people have the same name and live in the same city, so getting more details can help prevent a false positive or a false negative. If you can, you should collect:
  • Full Name
  • Known Aliases
  • Address Or General Location
  • Residence History
  • Age
While not all of this information is required to pull someone’s public records, the more precise information you have, the better.

2) Perform A Background Check

Pulling public records used to be a time-consuming and frustrating process. But fortunately, the Internet has allowed anyone to see tons of local, state, and national public records data in just a few clicks. By using a background check service like Instant, you can very quickly see if anyone is a registered sex offender or has been convicted of any other crimes. Using Instant Checkmate’s sex offender locator, you can even see if any registered sex offenders are living in your neighborhood. You will also have access to other information, like a person’s marriage records, divorce records, and property information.

3) Check With The Local Sheriff’s Office

While online background checks are the most convenient way to access public records, you should know that they aren’t necessarily 100% accurate. Sometimes data doesn’t accurately get transcribed to online public records, and someone who actually is a registered sex offender might appear to have a clean record. If you want to double check the results of an online background check, your best bet would be to ask your local sheriff’s office. Though it’s less convenient, they will be able to provide you with information about sexual predators in your area and help you learn if your subject is a registered sex offender.

4) Remember That Not All Sex Offenders Are Registered

While there are hundreds of thousands of registered sex offenders, the true number of Americans who abuse children could be in the millions. Just because someone has not been caught and convicted, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use common sense when it concerns your children’s safety.

Alan Williams is a parenting blogger, and child safety advocate. When he's not writing freelance blog posts, he's busy raising his two kids in sunny San Diego, California. 

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