Have you ever watched someone interacting with a child and felt that something wasn't right? Maybe you thought, "I'm just over-reacting," or, "He doesn't really mean that." Don't ignore your gut feelings or excuse inappropriate behavior. Trust your inner voice. Question what you have seen.   Someone may be potential chid sexual abuser if he/she:

  • Exhibits an unusual and pervasive interest in a particular child – especially, but not limited to, female children;
  • Provides more favors, attention, or privileges to one child over others;
  • Buys children expensive gifts or gives them money for no apparent reason;
  • Socializes more with children than with adults;
  • Does not want to have adult friends over to the house, or to participate in adult activities;
  • Wants to stay home most of the time with children present;
  • Wants one child to stay home with him/her while the others go somewhere;
  • Insists that when his/her child has sleepover, that it always be at his/her home;
  • Actively engages in efforts to spend time alone with children (e.g., encouraging mother to go shopping and leave the children at home, taking separate vacations with children, having separate working schedules, etc.);
  • Repeatedly offers to "babysit" the children while the mother or parents go outside the home to relax or do separate activities;
  • Initiates roughhousing with children on a regular basis;
  • Insists on hugging, touching, kissing, tickling, wrestling with or holding a child even when the child does not want this affection;
  • Encourages a lack of modesty around the home and on the part of children;
  • Dresses inappropriately around children;
  • Walks into the bathroom or bedroom when children are bathing or dressing;
  • Discusses age inappropriate topics with a child;
  • Exhibits lack of interest in normal marital sexual relations. Very few sex offenders have loving sexual relations with their spouse;
  • Is overly interested in the sexuality of a particular child or teen (e.g., talks repeatedly about the child's developing body or interferes with normal teen dating);
  • Obsessively and/or frequently masturbates;
  • Overreacts to media hype about sex offender arrests;
  • Treats a particular child like they were an adult and includes them in adult conversations about adult matters - especially talking about sexual things around children or telling off color jokes to children. Most child molesters are interested in children who demonstrate an interest in sex. Telling off color stories and noting the child's reaction is a method used to test this interest;
  • Stares at children engaged in normal activities for long periods of time;
  • Expresses an unusual interest in young girls/boys at the mall or other public places;
  • Expresses voyeristic behaviors such as watching children play after they have changed into their pajamas.


One Child's Story of Sexual Abuse

Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape

What is the HERO Project?

HERO, a project of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, is a community-based, media-driven, child sexual abuse prevention program designed to educate and motivate adult community members to call the 24-hour HERO Hotline if they suspect child sexual abuse. Learn More about how to step in and stop abuse