Virtuous pedophiles exist

Kelly Babchisin

It is a commonly held belief that individuals with a sexual interest in children (that is, pedophiles) are at an extremely high risk of committing (or to have already committed) a sexual offence against a child. When people hear ‘pedophiles’, most immediately think ‘child molester’, ‘predator’, or ‘sex offender’. Most overlook an important distinction: pedophiles are those who hold a sexual interest in children whereas sex offenders against children are those who have committed a sexual offence against a child. These terms are not synonymous. Indeed, a large body of research has found that not all pedophiles are sex offenders, and not all sex offenders are pedophiles (Seto, 2008). Some pedophiles only have a sexual interest in children (exclusive pedophiles), whereas other pedophiles have a sexual interest in both children and adults (nonexclusive pedophiles).

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Sexual offender cognition: Separating the ‘sexual’ from the ‘offender’

Ross Bartels

Cognition has long been viewed as playing an important role in the aetiology and maintenance of sexual offending behaviours (Abel et al., 1989; Ó Ciardha & Gannon, 2011). As a result, offence-supportive cognition (e.g., distorted attitudes, schemas) has been, and remains, a core factor in the assessment and treatment of sexual offenders (Beech, Bartels, & Dixon, 2013). In addition, an impressive body of theoretical and empirical literature has amassed on the subject over the last 15 years (see Caoilte Ó Ciardha’s review for more information).

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Public and professional perceptions of female sex offenders

Ian A. Elliott and Alexandra Bailey

In a recently submitted book chapter, Alex Bailey of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation and I took a policy-oriented look at public and professional attitudes towards females who perpetrate sex offenses against children. Franca Cortoni and colleagues [pdf] note that female sex offenders make up around 4-5% of all adult sex offenders and victimize children at a rate significant enough to warrant academic consideration. Alex and I sought to address the seemingly axiomatic view that public and professional perceptions of female sex offenders are complicated by the inconsistency between child abuse and pervading societal views of women as caring, nurturing, sexually passive, non-aggressive, and innocent, and that this leads to denial, minimization, and reconstruction of these individuals and their behaviors to correct for such incongruence.

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