Fast Facts About Pedophilia
Fact 1: Pedophilia is a sexual attraction to children.
Someone with pedophilia is primarily sexually attracted to prepubescent children (children who have not yet reached puberty).
Fact 2: Pedophilia affects people from all walks of life.
People with pedophilia come from all walks of life. They cross all socioeconomic, educational, gender, age, and cultural lines. Pedophilia primarily occurs in men, although a small percentage of pedophiles are female. While study results vary, most research has found that pedophilia appears to be present in approximately 5 percent of the population.
Fact 3: Not all pedophiles are child molesters.
Attraction is not action. A person with pedophilia may or may not act on these desires.
Fact 4: Not all child molesters are pedophiles.
A child molester is someone who sexually assaults a young person below the age of consent. Even though the assault is sexual, it may not be driven by sexual interest. There are many motives that can lead someone to sexually assault a child including anger management problems, sociopathy, and other disorders.
Fact 5: Pedophilia typically makes itself known in adolescence.
As people enter and pass through puberty, those with pedophilia begin to realize that their attraction to others is not aging as they age. Pedophilia appears to be a biologically based interest rather than a choice.
Fact 6: Treatment can help prevent a pedophile from offending.
Individuals with pedophilia can benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy and other approaches that focus on addressing inappropriate beliefs and attitudes, cognitive and emotional deficits, and a lack of self-regulation skills. A leading program aimed at helping pedophiles avoid offending is Project Dunkelfeld in Germany. The Dunkelfeld program offers confidential online resources in a variety of languages for people with pedophilia who want to avoid harming any children.
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ATSA blog posts
- Supporting Help-Seeking Behaviors: Help Wanted, June 1, 2018
The following citations reflect research, publications, and presentations by current ATSA members.
- Clinical characteristics associated with paedophilia and child sex offending: Differentiating sexual preference from offence status: Gerwinn, Weiss, Tenbergen, Amelung, Fodisch, Pohl, Massau, Kneer, Mohnke, Kargel, Wittfoth, Jung, Drumkova, Schiltz, Walter, Beier, Walter, Ponseti, Schiffer, & Kruger (2018)
- Multimodal neuroimaging measures and intelligence influence pedophile child sexual offense behavior: Lett, Mohnke, Amelung, Brandl, Schiltz, Pohl, Gerwinn, Kargel, Massau, Tenbergen, Wittfoth, Kneer, Beier, Walter, Ponseti, Kruger, Schiffer, & Walter (2018)
- Taxometric analysis of the latent structure of pedophilic interest: McPhail, Olver, Brouillette-Alarie, & Looman (2018)
- Correlates of admitted sexual interest in children among individuals convicted of child pornography offenses: Seto & Eke (2017)
- Evidence for superior neurobiological and behavioral inhibitory control abilities in non-offending as compared to offending pedophiles: Kargel, Massau, Weiss, Walter, Borchardt, Krueger, Tenbergen, Kneer, Wittfoth, Pohl, Gerwinn, Ponseti, Amelung, Beier, Mohnke, Walter, & Schiffer (2017)
- Executive functioning in pedophilia and child sexual offending: Massau, Tenbergen, Kargel, Weiss, Gerwinn, Pohl, Amelung, Mohnke, Kneer, Wittfoth, Ristow, Schiltz, Beier, Ponseti, Walter, Kruger, Walter, & Schiffer (2017)
- Gray matter anomalies in pedophiles with and without a history of child sexual offending: Schiffer, Amelung, Pohl, Kargel, Tenbergen, Gerwinn, Mohnke, Massau, Matthias, Weiss, Marr, Beier, Walter, Ponseti, Kruger, Schiltz, & Walter (2017)
- Taxometric analyses of pedophilia utilizing self-report, behavioral, and sexual arousal indicators: Stephens, Leroux, Skilling, Cantor, & Seto (2017)
- The relationship between sex offender height and pedophilic interest: Levenson & Ackerman (2017)
- Sexual offending: Measuring and understanding paedophilic sexual interest: O Ciardha (2016)
- Help wanted: Lessons on prevention from non-offending young adult pedophiles: Shields, Benelmouffok, & Letourneau (2015)
- The neurobiology and psychology of pedophilia: Recent advances and challenges: Tenbergen, Wittfoth, Frieling, Ponseti, Walter, Beier, Schiffer, & Kruger (2015)
- We need to support paedophiles to prevent child sex offending: Richards (2015)
- Pedophilia and its (non-) association with physical height among sex offenders: Jung, Klaver, & Pham (2013)
- The influence of cognitive functioning and psychopathic personality characteristics on the offense supportive cognitions of pedophiles: Allen, Pflugradt, & Olson (2013)
- Is pedophilia a sexual orientation?: Seto (2012)
- Pedophilia: An evaluation of diagnostic and risk prediction methods: Wilson, Abracen, Looman, Picheca, & Ferguson (2011)
- Predictors of child pornography offenses and child sexual abuse in a community sample of pedophiles and hebephiles: Neutze, Seto, Schaefer, Mundt, & Beier (2011)
- Professional responses to contemporary discourses and definitions of paedophilia: McCartan (2011)
- Multi-disciplinary definitions and understandings of paedophilia: Harrison, Manning, & McCartan (2010)
- Student/trainee-professional implicit theories of paedophilia: McCartan (2010)
- Pedophilia: Seto (2009)
- Pedophilia, hebephilia, and the DSM-V: Blanchard, Lykins, Wherrett, Kuban, Cantor, Blak, Dickey, & Klassen (2009)
- Cerebral white matter deficiencies in pedophilic men: Cantor, Kabani, Christensen, Zipursky, Barbaree, Dickey, Klassen, Mikulis, Kuban, Blak, Richards, Hanratty, & Blanchard (2008)
- Cognitive mediational deficits and the role of coping styles in pedophile and ephebophile Roman Catholic clergy: Ryan, Baerwald, & McGlone (2008)
- Pedophilia and sexual offending against children: Theory, assessment, and intervention: Seto (2008)
- Physical height in pedophilic and hebephilic sexual offenders: Cantor, Kuban, Blak, Klassen, Dickey, & Blanchard (2007)
- Child pornography offenses are a valid diagnostic indicator of pedophilia: Seto, Cantor, & Blanchard (2006)
- Handedness in pedophilia and hebephilia: Cantor, Klassen, Dickey, Christensen, Kuban, Blak, Williams, & Blanchard (2005)
- Intelligence, memory, and handedness in pedophilia: Cantor, Blanchard, Christensen, Dickey, Klassen, Beckstead, Blak, & Kuban (2004)
- Pedophilia and sexual offenses against children: Seto (2004)
- Self-reported head injuries before and after age 13 in pedophilic and nonpedophilic men referred for clinical assessment: Blanchard, Kuban, Klassen, Dickey, Christensen, Cantor, & Blak (2003)
- A brief screening scale to identify pedophilic interests among child molesters: Seto & Lalumiere (2001)
- Do pedophiles have a weaker identity structure compared with nonsexual offenders?: Tardif & Van Gijseghem (2001)
- The gender identity of pedophiles: What does the outcome data tell us?: Tardif & Van Gijseghem (2001)
- Paedophiles and sexual offences against children: Seto (1999)
- Psychiatric comorbidity in pedophilic sex offenders: Raymond, Coleman, Ohlerking, Christenson, & Miner (1999)
- Pedophilia: Assessment and treatment: Barbaree & Seto (1997)
- Pedophilia: Diagnostic concepts, treatment, and ethical considerations: Berlin & Krout (1994)
Additional resources will be listed soon.