Don’t let your child be a target

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Understanding the victim profile is a good first step

Article provided by Premier Martial Arts


Child abduction is every parent’s ultimate nightmare. These feelings can be positive as they raise awareness on how to keep our children safe. There are many factors such as environment, location, opportunity and motivation that influence a predator in selecting his or her victim. Although any child can be a target, a predator does not want to get caught and will seek a particular profile of a child: one who is easy to persuade, needy or fearful and, most importantly, one who will make a terrible witness if caught. The following is a child target profile of would be potential child victims.


Strong desire for attention


All children want to be loved, but some have an above average need for adult approval, attention and affection.  They are more likely to allow an adult to become too close to them and potentially allow access by a predator in exchange for attention.


Lack of self confidence


Children with poor self esteem or who exhibit timid behaviors are much safer targets as they are less likely to scream and more likely to obey. They may be more reluctant to share what they know about a predator with their parents because of feelings of intimidation or embarrassment.


Children with discipline problems or little connection to family


Predators often select children who display anti-social behavior. This is because they often have poor relationships with family and other role models, such as teachers or coaches. Children who believe that no one cares about them will be at risk. These children are looking elsewhere for attention and acceptance and more likely to take risks such as running away from home, trying drugs etc. Such children are considered less risky to a predator, because they generally make poor witnesses and can be easily discredited because of their own anti-social behavior.

Being aware of what a predator is looking for in a victim is a good first step. Next, teach your children to be aware of their environment and to never go anywhere with anyone without your permission. Most importantly,  strive to create an atmosphere of trust between your child and yourself (and others whom you trust), so that when they are sad, scared or need support, they will go to the right person long before it is too late.

Barry Van Over is the owner and president of Premier Martial Arts International, of which there are currently over 80 location nationwide. Mr. Van Over has two locations in the West Knoxville area and been empowering families lives through the martial arts in the Knoxville community for over 20 years. Mr. Van Over and his local studios can be reached at

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