Be on the lookout for an adult or older youth that singles out children with gifts, special privileges, or preferential treatment. Sandusky’s victims testified that he gave them expensive gifts, took them to bowl games, and gave them tickets and access at Penn State football games. Gift giving is an important part of the grooming process. They are used to gain trust and favor and set an expectation that they might go away if the child does not comply with the wishes of the perpetrator. Sometimes the gift or treat is given with the condition that it be kept a secret from others.
Parents should take notice if their child is coming home with expensive gifts or money. Parents should talk to their children about not accepting gifts from adults that are given for no apparent reason. And, that if any adult that gives them a gift or treat and tells them that they should keep it secret, that they should tell you.
For youth serving organizations, have policy that doesn’t allow staff to give gifts that show preference of one child over others. When a caregiver expresses favoritism for one or more children, take corrective action.
Tomorrow’s Lesson -The red flags of one adult/one child situations.