Stigma and non-offending pedophiles

Ian McPhail

People who have pedophilic interests and do not act on these interests present a complex challenge to clinicians.  There is growing evidence that a pedophilic orientation is associated with pre-natal factors, suggesting this orientation may start with events present prior to birth.  On this blog, we were fortunate enough to have the co-founders of Virtuous Pedophiles write a post about the existence of non-offending pedophiles and some of the painful challenges these individuals face due to having a sexual orientation they did not choose.  As part of the shame and fear of disclosing pedophilic interests, some non-offending pedophiles do not make these disclosures, even to mental health professionals.  A consequence of not feeling safe to disclose a pedophilic orientation, these people are left to cope with and manage their sexual attractions on their own.  As a budding mental health professional, I find this state of affairs unacceptable.  There are a number of reasons why I am unsatisfied with this status quo, but one I find pressing and that research is beginning to examine with non-offending pedophiles is stigma.

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The motivation-facilitation model and its application to offences relating to child sexual exploitation material

Danielle Kettleborough

I recently attended the National Organisation for the Treatment of Abusers (NOTA) conference, where I presented an overview of the research I am carrying out as part of my PhD. This post will give a brief summary of the key points taken from the presentation.

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The flexibility of pedophilic sexual interests

Ian McPhail

Can someone’s sexual interest in children decrease and their sexual interest in adults increase?  This sounds like a complicated and vital question that professionals in the business of treating sexual offenders should be asking themselves most mornings before they head to work.  Not surprisingly, this is a question that psychologists and psychiatrists have been preoccupied for a long time, with more modern examples emerging in the 1960s and 1970s.  However, more recently, a series of recent articles have dug into this complicated and thorny issue anew.  And perhaps even more interesting, this debate has spilled over into the media, with a recent radio broadcast in Canada featuring two of the main individuals in the recent debate speaking to the issue at hand: can we change pedophilic interests?

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Incest: What we know (and don’t know)

Lesleigh Pullman

Although this topic definitely does not make for good dinner conversation, attempting to understand the causes of sexual offending against children is an ongoing endeavour. But we’ve done pretty well so far. Much is known about the causes of child sexual abuse generally. Two key motivational factors that have been highlighted are atypical sexual interests and antisociality. However, much less is known about the causes of incest. Incestuous sexual offending is puzzling not only from a social and moral perspective (i.e., the incest taboo), but also from a biological perspective. Inbreeding depression (what happens when we have offspring with close relatives) increases the likelihood of birth defects and infant mortality. Presumably, we have evolved strong mechanisms for avoiding incest because sex with our relatives is bad for the survival of our genes!

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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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Procrastinating about laziness: Sometimes we forget that deviant sexual interests are a bit complicated

Caoilte Ó Ciardha

I’m great at procrastinating, or rather; when I procrastinate I am very good at tricking myself into doing something useful. When my house is tidy, the people around me know I’m avoiding work. When I’ve actually gardened they know I’m avoiding something huge. Today, I’m trying something different – procrastinatory blogging! In admitting this I also apologise to those waiting for papers or journal reviews from me, and I apologise to my flatmates who might have reasonably expected a clean house to result from my latest bout of writer’s block. However, toiling as I am with a current piece of work and an impending deadline, I was reminded of an article that I wrote in similar circumstances.

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What’s the point when research on sexual offending has no links to practice?

Ross Bartels

The measure of greatness in a scientific idea is the extent to which it stimulates thought and opens up new lines of research” – Paul Dirac (physicist)

A good deal of research is being conducted by both academics and clinicians to help us understand, assess, and treat sexual offenders. As such, it is understandable to see ‘nextgen’ researchers (myself included) wanting to provide a valuable contribution to the field. However, finding a ‘great scientific idea’ can to be a challenging endeavour. There are a great many factors inherent to the understanding of human behaviour, and offending behaviour is no exception. Luckily, as researchers in forensic psychology, we have a vast body of psychological literature (whether it be a principle, theory, method, or findings from a study) to draw upon when formulating a specific research question. I find this process exciting, as you never know when you might find a ‘hidden gem’ that will reveal new ways of understanding, assessing, and treating sexual offenders.

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