Paedophiles as defined are individuals who are preferentially or solely sexually attracted to prepubescent children, generally 13 years or less.Am one of those who hold the view that paedophiles should be castrated.Once that happens, this heart wrenching behaviour will be wiped out of humanity.Having worked with a coder who developed a software that help law enforcement agencies in different parts of the world in identifying those who sexually prey on children, several people have in the recent past asked me how one can tell a paedophile from everyone else online.Basically I can say one thing for sure that they don’t have specific features. They look and act like you and me when tweeting or interacting online. Unlike you and me, the key difference is that they’re sexually attracted to children.There are distinct classifications for other attractions to children, depending on the developmental stage the adult is sexually attracted to. Hebephiles are the paedohiles who find children on the cusp of puberty sexually attractive are known as while Ephebophiles are paedophiles who are sexually attracted to children who have reached puberty. However, not all paedophiles are child sex offenders, and conversely not all child sex offenders are paedophiles. Some people who sexually abuse children are not preferentially attracted to children at all. The abuse is a matter of opportunity where the child is a sexual surrogate for an unavailable adult or the abuse represents a need to dominate and control another human being.So, to demystify the issue, I will restrict this story to those with an attraction to children specifically preferential child sex offenders.Studies around the world have shown that almost 89% of sexually abused children are abused by someone they know.Of the remaining 11%, some are victimised as part of the sex trade, where children are bought and sold for cash. Unless you live in a bunker, you must know that sex tourism has become the scourge as a result of increased and cheap world travel, and all countries have had their fair share of sex tourists. Many people believe they won’t get caught if they travel to developing countries to abuse children or that laws such countries don’t apply the same punishment as those in developed world. Anyone travelling abroad to sexually abuse children should face the same charges as if they offended on home turf. Several countries law enforcement agencies are well aware of this sinister activity and have already successfully prosecuted a number of individuals.
When it comes to preferential or fixated child sex offenders, some don’t even realise what they are doing is wrong. They genuinely believe they are showing the children love.Shocking as that may be to those of us who don’t share their sexual attraction to children, this is why serial sex offenders think they offends.Offenders understands that society deems what they do is wrong, but they can’t understand why that is the case. Recidivism rates among child sex offenders are high. Around 20% of child sex offenders are likely to re-offend within 24 months according to various scientific studies. Those who truly believe they are not harming children through sexual contact are highly unlikely to be rehabilitated.Governments have considered chemical castration, drugs to reduce the libido as a sentencing option but does not work in the long run. Often, child sex offenders are driven by a desire to dominate and control, not simply sexual desire.Some people who have been sexually abused as children will go on to become offenders. Research suggest anywhere between 30% and 70% of child sex offenders report being sexually abused as children.The practical application of this information is that preventing child sexual abuse will reduce, but not eradicate, some occurrences later.Then there are others who have not been abused as children but find children sexually attractive. Research suggests there may be a biological reason for this. Studies have found paedophiles’ brains are, in essence, wired to find immature faces attractive.Improving the understanding of how paedophiles’ brains work will ultimately help identify those with a sexual interest in children, if not those who are willing and able to act on those urges.There is no scientific evidence on how many people have a sexual preference for children.One of the only ways we can gauge sexual interest in children is by plotting the ever-increasing number of websites that cater for sex offenders of all types, including child sex offenders, and those caught accessing child sexual abuse material.It is very hard to estimate the proportion of sex offenders in the general population, as few people admit to a sexual interest in children. There is some hope clinicians may be able to help identify people with these inclinations through an analysis of brain function. Hopefully in future, researchers may be able to understand the causation of inappropriate sexual desires towards children more readily, and prevent the cycle of abuse continuing.