I want to protect kids from sexual abuse, so I will have pointers from time to time on this subject.
Let’s say you are interviewing a babysitter, and you already have checked on their criminal background, and it is clear. I reiterate that this DOESN’T MEAN your child will be safe with that person.
This is not meant to scare you.
One red flag you can look for during your interview: Ask about the person’s all around activities. What do they do on a regular basis? If they are a teen, and their activities focus too strongly on younger children (the sitter’s gender is not relevant here), and they don’t do much with peers, I’d steer clear.
Too much focus on children and not their peers isn’t a good sign. You will want someone who is balanced. A healthy older teen will want most to hang with people his/her own age, and occasionally be a babysitter, or at least have just as many activities with peers, as with young kids. That inordinate amount of attention towards children, versus interest in being with peers, is a clue that this individual has some worrisome issues, and could easily be a sex offender who has not been in the legal system yet.
It isn’t normal for either older adolescents or adults to have all their activities (or even a majority) centering on kids! So pay close attention to what the person says when you ask these questions!
Additionally, it is of prime importance that you teach your kids that NO ONE has the right to touch them in any way that makes the children feel uncomfortable, and that they should tell you as soon as possible if something like that occurs. Children who are aware of their rights and willing to stick up for themselves, or at least be willing to tell, are very unattractive to sex offenders.
Offenders want kids they can manipulate and intimidate. They are banking on it!