On Nov. 9, a group of concerned citizens joined U.P. Police Chief Pat Burke and Pierce County Detective Sergeant Lynelle Anderson for a “Conversation with the Chief” about the dangers to children from sexual predators.
Det. Sgt. Anderson shared alarming statistics that debunk the misconception that sexual abuse is often the result of “stranger danger,” noting that:
- More than 90 percent of abusers are people children know, love and trust.
- Upwards of 40 percent of victims are abused by a family member.
- Half are abused by someone outside of the family whom they know and trust.
Anderson said evidence that a child has been sexually abused is not always obvious, and many children do not report that they have been abused.
She urged anyone who suspects the sexual abuse of a child, either by someone they know or by a stranger, to immediately report their concerns to the Washington State Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting hotline at 800.562.5624, 866.END-HARM or TTY 800.624.6186. Reports can also be made online or by calling 911 or South Sound 911’s 24-Hour Non-Emergency Line at 253.287.4455.
“It was great to see the participants engaged and asking good questions,” Burke said. “I think everyone came away feeling that it was time well-spent in protection of our children. Lynelle will be retiring in January but given how well this session went, we plan to pull her out of retirement for future events.”