COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- In light of several instances of child sex abuse in Southern Colorado, KRDO spoke with TESSA to bring signs of grooming to light for parents.
Rica Molet, the Community Engagement Manager at TESSA, said abusers will often look for kids who are isolated or in need emotionally. They'll start trying to relate to that child, fill needs they might have, and try to gain their trust. Then, they'll often try to isolate that child even further emotionally and physically, by saying things like, "you can trust me, because no one else understands you the way I do."
From there, Molet said many abusers will use their power and control to start sexualizing the relationship. They might start asking them personal questions, or talking to them in an inappropriate way. At this point, they might even began touching that child inappropriately, and telling the child that that type of behavior is their secret to maintain control.
For parents, Molet said having open communication with your child is the biggest way to combat grooming. Watch for how much time your child is spending with an adult, especially if they're alone with that adult. Watch for statements from your child, like, "I have a secret that so-and-so told me, I can't tell you."
Opening up that line of communication with your child can be as simple as asking them about their day. Molet said one tactic is to ask your child about one good and one bad thing that happened to them every day.
"Just having those open conversations around the dinner table, or just one-on-one, you know, where it's relaxing for that kid to open up and talk to you about that," Molet said.
Tonight at 5 on KRDO News Channel 13, we'll have a full report for parents on the signs of grooming in children from sexual abusers.
To seek services from TESSA if you are a victim of domestic violence or sexual abuse, call their 24/7 hotline at 719-633-3819.