October 31, 2011

Truths about sex crimes, children and holidays

Any Year Halloween:

Here are truths about sex crimes, children and Halloween and other holidays. Far too many folks in authority refuse to believe these facts, and instead spend time fear mongering.

Dr. Levenson's recent Halloween Sex Crimes study

Chaffin, M., Levenson, J.S., Letourneau, E., & Stern, P. (2009). How safe are trick-or-treaters? An analysis of sex crimes on Halloween. Sexual Abuse: Journal of Research & Treatment 21(3). For copies of the: Full Research Paper -OR- Summary of Research

Podcast: Dr. Jill Levenson (Lynn University) and Detective Robert Schilling (Seattle Police Department) discuss the above study and how many agencies are wasting resources by unnecessarily monitoring sex offenders on Halloween. Law enforcement resources would be better directed to the most dangerous Halloween occurrence, children being killed by cars. Source: Center for Disease Control.

From the Levenson study:
This study found no significant increase in risk for 67,045 non-familial child sexual abuse on or around Halloween. Sexual molesters sometimes use seemingly innocent opportunities to engage children for sexual abuse and therefore might be expected to use trick-or-treat for ulterior purposes. However, this logic does not appear to translate into an increase in sex offenses around Halloween. The absence of a Halloween effect remained constant over the nine year period, beginning well before the current interest in Halloween sex offender policies and extending to recent years. Any Halloween policies that have been adopted by reporting jurisdictions during that period appear not to have impacted the overall sex offense rate. .....

Other risks to children are more salient on Halloween. According to the Center for Disease Control, children ages 5 to 14 are four times more likely to be killed by a pedestrian/motor-vehicle accident on Halloween than on any other day of the
year. Regarding criminal activity on Halloween, theft and vandalism are particularly common. Sex crimes against children by non- family members account for two out of every thousand Halloween crimes, calling into question the justification for diverting law enforcement resources on that day away from more prevalent public safety concerns.

Chart showing sex crimes from Jan-Dec for 9 years.

A 1997 U.S. Department of Justice study of 73,116 cases shows that 97% + of new sex crimes against minors are committed by family, friends and acquaintances of minors (see chart below). Think carefully, avoiding homes of former sex offenders causes you to place your child at the very homes of people who are MOST LIKELY to commit a sex offense with a child, family, friends and acquaintances.

Parents, relying on a myths or fears does not PROTECT your child. Our advice is simple, ignore myths and fear mongers that TWIST or HIDE the truth about safety, take your child by the hand and enjoy Halloween as a family, as it should be enjoyed.


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