Protecting vulnerable kids from sexual abuse and exploitation

Joe Laramie, Retired Police Lieutenant, shares advice for parents on what to do to help protect your kids from sexual abuse and exploitation
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Protecting vulnerable kids from sexual abuse and exploitation

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Parents ask me about the internet as being a draw or magnet for offenders to molest their children. In reality, the place that a child is more apt to be molested, is in their own home. That sounds so counter productive to who we are as people, but the person who is most likely to molest a child is not a stranger. That person is a family member or an acquaintance. What we have to do is understand that, so that we can teach our children the really positive things about protecting ourselves. Number one, you do not have to kiss uncle Harry every night he comes to visit you. Sometimes we want family to have a relationship with our children. But you have to say, if a child does not want to be friendly with an aunt, an uncle, or a family friend. You do not have to force them. We have this fantasy that we want our children to respect their elders, but in reality, we have to understand that sometimes those elders are putting our child at risk. We want to teach our kids some critical thinking. Things like, if somebody says to you, "This is our special secret." If somebody says to you, "You can't tell." If somebody says to you, "I'm going to show you some adult things, but you can't say anything to another adult." Those are warning signs. Adults don't have special secrets with little kids. Little kids need to know that, so that when somebody says that, that's a warning sign. Then we need to teach our kids to tell and keep telling, until an adult listens.

Joe Laramie, Retired Police Lieutenant, shares advice for parents on what to do to help protect your kids from sexual abuse and exploitation

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Lt. Joe Laramie

Former Police Lieutenant

In 2012 Lt. Joe Laramie (retired) formed Laramie Consulting, where he provides strategies and solutions for law enforcement and schools to address policy and training on a variety of technology and child exploration issues. He has 30 years of experience in the area of child protection, was certified Police Juvenile Specialist and taught D.A.R.E. for 15 years. From 2010-2011 he worked for the Missouri Attorney General as Adminstrator of Computer Forensics Lab, responsible for addressing online crimes against children, cyber bullying and human trafficking. In 2010, after 31 years of service he retired as a Lieutenant from the Glendale Police Department, where he was detached form 2003-2010 as Commander of the Missouri Interent Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. During his time with MO ICAC he served the National ICAC Task Force Program as liaison to Interent Safety Organizaitons such as Netsmartz, iKeepSafe, and Web Wise Kids, and was a member of the Executive Committee. He is a nationally known speaker on the topic of online crimes against children, technology safety, and cyber bullying. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Bellevue University and is a 2004 graduate of the FBI National Academy.

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