This is an important point, one we’ve talked about many times:
“Many people still imagine that people who commit sexual abuse are strangers to victims and threatening figures in society.
While that absolutely happens, that’s the “exception,” said Ian Henderson, director of legal systems with the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
“Most often, it’s someone who’s known, and when we’re talking about child victims, someone who has access and is in a position of trust,” Henderson said.”
It never hurts to be reminded of this fact, but the other thing this article starts to talk about but doesn’t fully get into is grooming. Specifically, how do we define grooming when it comes to law enforcement? As the article points out for that locality, it’s illegal once someone crosses certain lines with kids. Texts and communications of a sexual nature, sharing illicit content with kids, etc. The problem is that by the time that happens, kids and their parents might be so groomed that they don’t tell anyone that it is happening. The adult in question has become someone they care about and want to protect.
On the other hand, making something like befriending a child and paying attention to them a crime will have some serious negative impacts on all kids. (Imagine how many people would want to teach, coach, or work with kids if you could be arrested for being too nice?)
So it’s difficult from a law enforcement point of view, but that doesn’t mean parents can’t do anything. The article below gets into more details but includes things like keeping an open line of communication with kids about everything, always being someone they trust to be a safe space for them, etc.
Kids with solid family relationships, who openly communicate with parents and other safe adults, and parents who are involved with their kids will be tougher to groom.
That is more effective than any anti-grooming law is going to be.