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MU researchers reveal communication tactics used by sexual predators to entrap children
Date:4/17/2008

COLUMBIA, Mo. A childs innocence and vulnerability presents a target for a sexual predators abusive behavior. University of Missouri researchers are beginning to understand the communication process by which predators lure victims into a web of entrapment. This information could better equip parents and community members to prevent, or at least interrupt, the escalation of child sexual abuse.

Our children are our greatest gift and our greatest responsibility. The fact that they could be abused in any way, shape or form is horrific--both in the moment of the abuse and in the long-term effect, said Loreen Olson, MU associate professor of communication in the College of Arts and Science. Its a social problem with grave consequences that is prevalent and needs attention. Its incomprehensible, but its happening. The sexual abuse of children has dramatic negative consequences to their emotional well-being throughout their lives.

According to the researchers, in order for the process of entrapment to take place, the perpetrator must first gain access to the potential victim through various exploitive means. Olson and her team identified several communicative elements in the cycle of entrapment, including the core phenomenon of deceptive trust development. Deceptive trust development describes the predators ability to build a trusting relationship with the victim in order to improve the likelihood of sexual encounter.

Deceptive trust development is central to other manipulative strategies used by the predator such as grooming. Grooming sets the stage for abuse by desensitizing the victim to sexual contact. Grooming may include activities such as sitting on a childs bed and watching them get into their bedclothes; accidentally touching the child inappropriately; showing the child pornographic images; and making contact or sex play with implicit sexual suggestions.

As perpetrators are grooming their victims and building deceptive tru
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Contact: Bryan E. Jones
jonesbry@missouri.edu
573-882-9144
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

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