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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The following citations reflect research, publications, and presentations by current ATSA members.

Additional resources will be listed soon.

2018 ATSA Conference