Experts, Parents Learn Abuse Prevention Tips From Sex Offenders - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Experts, Parents Learn Abuse Prevention Tips From Sex Offenders

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Experts are turning to sex offenders for tips on how to keep your kids safe.

What they're learning is many lessons people teach their kids aren't working.

"In many cases they put children at increased risk," said Cory Jewell-Jensen, co-director of the Center for Behavioral Intervention.

Jewell-Jensen was in Grand Island Monday, holding a workshop for parents. She'll lead training for professionals that work with abused children on Tuesday.

Experts estimate between one in four and one in six girls will be sexually abused before age 18.

For boys, that's between one and seven and one in ten.

Jewell-Jensen said one of the worst lessons to teach your kids is "stranger danger."

"Fewer than 5 percent of people who molest kids are strangers to the children," she said.

She said another confusing message is teaching kids the difference between good and bad touching.

"Offenders very often will molest kids in the way that feels good or at least isn't frightening or scary to kids," said Jewell-Jensen.

She said that can also teach kids that sex is bad.

Even telling a kid to say "no" to an abuser could be a problem if they're not sure what's happening to them.

"If a child figured out that that was happening they were afraid to tell because, what went through their head was that they hadn't said 'no' and they hadn't gone to tell," said Jewell-Jensen.

Authorities say one parenting tip hasn't been discredited: monitoring your kids.

"Whether it's the internet, whether it's your kids going out playing with friends, know what they're doing. Know who they're hanging out with. Know who they're talking to," said Sgt. Quinn Webb, of the Hall County Sheriff's Office.

Webb said the internet is making it easier for sex offenders to access your kids.

"What's important is that you monitor. You have to know exactly what your kids are doing online. There's ways of doing it. There's internet histories. There's software to do it," he said.

Webb said the Hall County Sheriff's Office loans that kind of software to parents.

Registered sex offenders currently total 149 in Hall County. There are 80 registered in Buffalo, 84 in Adams and 715 in Lancaster County.

Jewell-Jensen said parents need to make sure kids know how they could be tricked.

"Very often offenders will talk to kids and make kids feel like they're going to get in trouble or they've been going along with it so long now so it's going to be their fault," she said.

Jewell-Jensen said parents need to talk to their kids three or four times a year, letting them know that not only is it not okay for people to touch their private parts, they shouldn't be doing that to others either.

She said many sex offenders started young.

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