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Understanding the lived experience of British non-offending paedophiles

Dymond, Harriet; Duff, Simon

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Harriet Dymond

Associate Professor in Forensic Psychology


© 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: Research into paedophilia mainly uses offender samples; thus, little is understood about non-offending paedophiles. The limited body of research has been conducted in North America or Europe whose health and legal systems differ from those in the UK. Using semi-structured interviews, the purpose of this study is to explore the experience of three non-offending British paedophilic males. Design/methodology/approach: The interview discussed their paedophilia, refraining from offending and perspectives on treatment initiatives. Data were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Findings: Three superordinate themes emerged: “paedophilia as more than a sexuality,” “acceptance leads to management” and “barriers to support.” These encapsulated how paedophilia was understood, how accepting one’s sexual attraction is tantamount to well-being and the various obstacles to providing support were discussed. Research limitations/implications: Acknowledging the sampling considerations (size and recruitment), the results implicate research into paedophilia. The onset of paedophilia was chronologically associated with typical sexual attraction, and not the result of sexual abuse as some theories suggest. Furthermore, the tenets of attraction to children extending beyond sexual desire were highlighted. Practically, the results influence future research into the area and highlight the dearth in our understanding of diverse behavioural management techniques (i.e. computerised images of children or human-like dolls). Originality/value: This paper presents novel insight into the aspects of paedophilia, excluding offensive behaviour and highlights the need for affordable, UK-based services targeted towards people with a paedophilic attraction to manage child sexual abuse preventatively and not reactively.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 11, 2020
Online Publication Date Feb 13, 2020
Publication Date 2020
Deposit Date Jan 13, 2020
Publicly Available Date Feb 13, 2020
Journal Journal of Forensic Practice
Print ISSN 2050-8794
Electronic ISSN 2050-8794
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 2
Pages 71-81
Keywords paedophilia; minor attraction; child sexual abuse; prevention; sexual offending; sexuality
Public URL
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