Some “experts” claim that child sexual predators can be cured and can actually become part of the solution to keep children safe. While there may be some small truth in this, it’s mostly fantasy. Look at the following illustration.
As the diagram shows, most child molesters, are predators, but not all. Of those who fall outside the predatory category, most are children who sexually abuse other, usually younger, children as an experiment; or those who are merely mimicking behavior to which they have been exposed. Some mentally ill child molesters also might be considered non-predatory. With proper treatment, supervision and accountability, these child molesters in these three categories might be “curable.” Emphasis on might.
As the illustration shows, the vast majority of child molesters fall into the category of predator. The non-psychopathic predatory child molesters mostly are sociopaths. This group of predators will sexually abuse children if the opportunity arises, but they do not go out of their way to groom them into a sexual relationship. Although it may be possible for this group to change and to refrain from sexually abusing children, it’s highly unlikely.
In any event, these child molesters—the child experimenter, the child who mimics behavior they have observed, the mentally ill abuser, and the non-psychopathic predator—are responsible for abusing less than 15% of the total number of victims.
I can’t image any circumstance that any of these abusers would ever be able to contribute to the safety of any child at risk.
The vast majority of victims are sexually abused by the psychopaths. On average, each of these predators sexually abuse 150 children. Some of the experts claim that even these child sexual predators can be cured. I have seen no evidence that this is true. My experience has been that this group will never change. They will always remain dangerous.
Most of the claims of cure are based on recidivism rates. A low percentage of those who receive treatment are arrested again for the same offense within a specified period of time, usually within 5 years. But this is not surprising at all. There is a low recidivism rate for all child sexual predators. It should be expected given the general arrest rates.
The fact is that only 5% of all sex crimes are ever prosecuted. More telling, only 3% of child victims ever report their abuse to the police. Most child sexual abusers never get caught in the first place. The chance of being caught a second time for the same kind of offense is miniscule, with or without treatment. The idea that treatment cures the psychopaths is wishful thinking.
Treatment of the perpetrators will not solve the problem. Most of that effort is a waste of time and money. Increasing the arrest, prosecution and incarceration of the perpetrators may help some. If the predators are in prison, they can’t abuse children. The problem is that there are not enough police and too many predators.
The most promising solution is to educate enough people, particularly those who are involved in working with children, to learn how to recognize predators and to keep them away from the children. It’s possible to do that–to learn how to spot them–when you know what to look for and you are willing to invest some time and effort. We’re in the beginning stages of developing a program to teach these skills and we want to engage as many people as possible.
Become part of the effort to stop child sexual predators.
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