All Child Sex Offenders are not Paedophiles There is a common belief in our society that all child sex offenders are paedophiles. She has treated the highest risk sexual and violent offenders in the state and believes strongly that change and rehabilitation are possible. To understand sexual offending, it is important to understand that not all child sex offenders meet the criteria for a diagnosis of paedophilia — and not all paedophiles have committed child sexual offences. In order to develop effective responses to offending, and prevent childhood sexual abuse in the future, it is important that an understanding of child sexual offenders is based on evidence. Abuse experienced as a child can have huge social and emotional impacts for a person growing up, especially in the area of relationships. Not surprisingly, child sexual abuse is a very emotive issue for the Australian public.
Offenders who were exposed to sexual activity early on in their lives through sexual abuse are confused about the idea of informed consent. They do not understand that sex can be a small part of an intimate relationship because they have never experienced the pleasure of a strong, supportive emotional connection. In fact, sexual offenders are less likely to re-offend than any other type of offender — and are even less likely to re-offend following treatment. We analyse the background of the offender and the factors which directly proceeded the offending, as well as why they continued to offend. Research by Smallbone and Wortley 3 found: Precipitating Factors There can be many factors which precipitate sexual offending. Treatment for Sex Offenders I believe that once an offender is open about his offending — and understands his own offending pathway — he is then able to progress through treatment and identify risk factors for further offending. They might believe that they asked for the abuse, because they did not say no, and they were sexually aroused so they must have enjoyed it. The Stranger Danger campaign no doubt confused children, and parents, possibly distracting them from the real risks to their safety and what they should do in event they were offended against by someone they might know. Many men have been able to identify the things they used to tell themselves, which enable continuing offending. Australian Institute of Criminology. Shelley Jacks , B Psych Hons. They are unable to form strong bonds with the mate of their choice. All Child Sex Offenders are not Paedophiles There is a common belief in our society that all child sex offenders are paedophiles. Of course there are sexual offenders who do not meet the above criteria, who are unable to be rehabilitated or treated because they do not want to be, or are very sexually deviant. Logan Psychologist Shelley Jacks explains … In my many years of working with both child and adult sexual offenders, I have found they all come to treatment with one question: Shelley Jacks is a registered psychologist who worked for many years treating all types of offending in Queensland prisons. If he can understand the impact of his offending on the victim, if he can be educated about relationships and intimacy, improve his self-esteem, abstain from drugs or alcohol, process the trauma of his childhood, challenge his dysfunctional beliefs, manage his depression or anxiety, build a professional and social support system then he can go on to live a happy, healthy life and be a productive member of the community. Abuse experienced as a child can have huge social and emotional impacts for a person growing up, especially in the area of relationships. These individuals do not understand why they have committed such a heinous crime. The media tells us that all sexual offenders were born with some kind of sexual dysfunction or deviance, and will be looking to re-offend at every opportunity. This has often led to them having a lack of respect for women or believing women were to be used as sexual objects. They might maintain a belief that children are behaving sexually when they are in fact just being children. Perpetuating Factors Additionally there are many factors which allow the offender to continue with the offending. They talk of relationship breakdown, obsessions with work, drug and alcohol use, loneliness, inability to manage emotions, poor problem solving, impulsivity, anxiety, depression and isolation. If he is able to make changes in his life he significantly reduces the likelihood of re-offending. This helps the individual understand their own offending pathway.
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