KUALA LUMPUR,. Preventing paedophiles from beginning to groom potential victims is essential as children approached become more susceptible to future attacks even if the process is not completed, according to the police.
In an interview with Malay Mail, Bukit Aman Sexual, Women, and Child Investigations (D11) Division Assistant Director Supt Siti Kamsiah Hassan said the child grooming process can pique the curiosity of the targets.
This makes them more susceptible to future approaches to other sexual offenders, as the children may not understand the gravity of the sexual information being presented to them.
The partially-groomed targets are also more easily convinced into sexual experimentation by others their age, she added.
“After they are exposed, they start to get involved and try sexual acts with their boyfriends, or friends, and this happens often when dealing with rape cases involving known perpetrators,” she said.
“This is not a direct action of the cyber-paedophile or offender, but the result of the grooming they (the targeted minors) were put through,” she said.
Child grooming refers to the actions of sexual predators who befriend potential targets and establish emotional connections, before gradually introducing them to sexual concepts in preparation for later attacks.
Siti said most instances of cyber grooming would include sexually explicit conversations, which could end up in the exchange of compromising photographs including nudes.
This then escalates into physical meetings, during which the minors could fall victim to the sexual predators or worse.
“Sometimes the first time they meet, they already engage in sexual intercourse, and the suspect then goes missing.
“We then face a problem when we do not know the suspect’s real identity, and are unable to trace him,” she said.
Siti advised parents to closely monitor their children’s Internet and social media use, and to be familiar with the people in their children’s communication circles.
“The parents are the ones who allow their children to have these smartphones, so they should also be monitoring it to see how they surf.
“The problems [with sexual assault] does not begin the moment they leave the house, but prevention of it starts at home,” she said.
Siti said campaigns are ongoing to warn both children and adults about the dangers of online sexual predators nationwide.
However, their success is only possible if parents take an active role in educating and monitoring their children to spot signs of grooming.
“Police can take action once the offence is committed or suggest provisions under the law to protect the people.
“Before that, the responsibility lies with the parents,” she said.