Individuals who choose to work with children and end up sexually abusing them typically fall into two categories:

  • Those who deliberately seek access to children to satisfy their deviant sexual interests. This behaviour is calculated and purposeful.
  • Those who have emotional and/or psychological problems rather than deviant sexual interests. This may start with a friendship between the child and adult that becomes distorted and results in inappropriate interactions and sexually abusive behaviour. The adult may not have any prior history of sexually offending, and may not seek out involvement in a child-serving organization with the intent to access victims and offend.
Some Sex Offenders:
  • Specifically seek out child-serving organizations to gain easier access to children.
  • Are ‘opportunistic’ — they may not initially seek to abuse children, but do so if the situation presents itself.
  • Hold distorted perceptions of their relationships and physical contact with children. They may believe that a child is sexually interested in them and that sexual contact is harmless because the child seemingly initiates, wants, and enjoys such contact. They do not see their offending as forced or coercive.
  • Engage in inappropriate behaviour that is sexually motivated but may not be considered criminal. For example, an adult may create opportunities where children must change in front of him/her.
  • Deny their intent to groom a child.
  • Initiate personal contact outside the organization (befriend the family, offer the child a job, etc.).
Offenders intentionally build relationships with the adults around a child or seek out a child who may have fewer adults in his/her life. This ensures that the offender’s time with the child is welcomed and encouraged.