Welcome to today’s edition of The V Word. 

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August is the month we ease out of vacation and prepare kids to go back to school. And with school comes technology. Technology and the internet is used for everything and kids have access everywhere. I watch my friends and inlaws with children try to put in place controls and blocks, but children can still access cell phones and the internet anywhere. And predators online are clever. If you have kids, is this something you worry about? If so, listen,
this week we are going to talk about predation via technology.

Surveys done by the US Department of Justice found that predators seek youths vulnerable to seduction, including those with histories of sexual or physical abuse, those who post sexually provocative photos/videos, and those who talk about sex with unknown people online.

  • 1 in 25 youths received an online sexual solicitation in which the solicitor tried to make offline contact.
  • In more than one-quarter (27%) of incidents, solicitors asked youths for sexual photographs of themselves.
  • 15% of cell-owning teens (12–17) say they have received sexually suggestive nude/seminude images of someone they know via text.
  • 4% of cell-owning teens (12–17) say that they have sent sexually suggestive nude/seminude messages to others via text message.

The US Department of Justice completed another survey to describe characteristics of interactions between Internet predators and their juvenile victims. The survey found that:

  • The majority of victims had met the predator willingly.
  • Of the 129 victims identified, ages 17 and younger, the face-to-face meetings had occurred in 74% of the cases, and 93% of those encounters had included sexual contact.
  • 75% of the victims were girls.
  • The majority of victims (67%) were children between the ages of 12 and 15.
  • The most common first encounter of a predator with a victim took place in an online chat room (76%).
  • In 47% of the cases, the predator offered gifts or money during the relationship-building phase.

And here is what is surprising:

  • Predators used less deception to befriend their online victims than experts had thought. Only 5% of the predators told their victims that they were in the same age-group as the victims. Most offenders told the victims that they were older males seeking sexual relations.
  • The victims who responded to this survey had willingly met and had sexual encounters with the predators. The authors concluded that vulnerable youth need further education regarding the negative effects of such relationships.

What can you do?

In Virginia there are many laws to protect children. You can find them at the Department of Criminal Justice Services website:

To list one =
Statute § 18.2-374.3. Use of communications systems to facilitate certain offenses involving children. Under this statute there is a list of offences describing abuse of children and use of technology.

Any person who violates this subsection is guilty of a Class 5 felony.

How can you help?

  • You can add your voice to the community’s discussion to eliminate stigma, violence, and it’s impact against the youth of our community. There are many things you can do.
  • Get involved with your local child advocacy center or rape crisis center to learn more about educating your children or the children in your life.
  • Talk with your schools to request a education program to be provided at all grades.

For help or information? Here are some options…

If you have been assaulted or your child has been assaulted, call 911. Local rape crisis centers and child advocacy centers have advocates they can send to help support you and provide information.

For information on how to report an assault in the Richmond, Virginia, USA are, you can call the non-emergency line at 804-646-5100 or go by a local police station office. The main Richmond office is located at 200 West Grace Street.

To get a forensic exam to collect evidence and receive medical care, the local hospitals in the Richmond area with Forensic Nurse Examiners are at Medical College of Virginia and St. Mary’s Hospital.

For help with counseling and advocacy, local rape crisis centers, child advocacy centers and domestic violence shelters can provide services. To find a center closest to you… you can call the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238. That is the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238.

Want to share a story or ask a question? Email me at thevword.radio@gmail.com or tweet me at my twitter account: @preventviolence. You can read the transcript for this show and past shows on my blog at www.thevword.org

The V Word is recorded in the studios of WRIR-LP 97.3 and streamed at wrir.org, read and produced by me, Carol Olson. Music is provided by The Etching Tin

US Department of Justice – Dru Sjodn National Sex Offender Public Website