Friday 14 August, 2020

Search on for suspect after child allegedly raped by online predator

Police are once again asking parents and guardians to be mindful of how children use social media platforms on the internet and to teach children the dangers of such tools.

This comes after a 14-year-old girl was allegedly raped in Siparia by a man she met online.

Police were told that the girl begun talking to the individual online some months ago.

They arranged to meet on Saturday at a pavilion in the community.

However, the man convinced her to walk with him, away from the public eye, to a nearby room.

Police were told that the child was allegedly tied up and sexually assaulted.

After the attack, the suspect left - however, persons in the area heard the girl’s screams and notified the police.

The girl was eventually rescued and taken for medical treatment.

A manhunt was launched for the suspect and police said an arrest is imminent.

More on this as it becomes available.


What is sexual grooming?

Grooming is when someone builds an emotional connection with a child to gain their trust for the purposes of sexual abusesexual exploitation or trafficking.

Children and young people can be groomed online or face-to-face, by a stranger or by someone they know - for example a family member, friend or professional.

Groomers may be male or female. They could be any age.

Many children and young people don't understand that they have been groomed or that what has happened is abuse.

What are the signs of sexual grooming?

The signs of grooming aren't always obvious and groomers will often go to great lengths not to be identified.

If a child is being groomed they may:

  • be very secretive, including about what they are doing online
  • have older boyfriends or girlfriends
  • go to unusual places to meet friends
  • have new things such as clothes or mobile phones that they can't or won't explain
  • have access to drugs and alcohol.

In older children, signs of grooming can easily be mistaken for 'normal' teenage behaviour, but you may notice unexplained changes in behaviour or personality, or inappropriate sexual behaviour for their age.

If you suspect a child may be the victim of sexual grooming, please contact the Children’s Authority urgently on 800-2014 or 996.

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