The internet is an integral part of our lives, it takes up a substantial amount of our time, we work through it, spend leisure time on it. It’s an ease to forget that this place is unreal, that all is not what it seems.
For those with children, it’s a huge concern
There is no way of telling who your children are conversing with, not for you nor for them, that your children are secretive is a given. Those who are intent on doing your children harm are also secretive, this is the daunting prospect all parents must cope with.
National Family Week “Families Make All the Difference” kicks off on May 15 this year , coinciding with the United Nations “International Day of the Families” also May 15. So what does this have to do with Online Security? Everything! Families are THE best security system for you to protect your children from online harm, from nefarious internet predators. Families enable us to create a safe, enjoyable and educational place for children to be ::::
Warning! We’ve included a couple of recent examples of online child abuse cases below, if you find it hard to cope with material related to child sexual exploitation or abuse, keep reading. Imagine it’s your child going through these horrendous experiences, then start working on a level headed strategy with your family to prevent your own children from ever being in this position.
Think You Know What a Sex Offender Looks Like?
Watchmen sites like MAKO publish Known Offenders lists, the problem is that paedophiles are pretty intent on not being recognized, the internet is the perfect place to hide.
FAMILY is essential in your online safety prevention plan, communication and information are the key to preventing your child from being in an unsafe place online. The ability for a child to freely communicate with siblings and parents about their online actions is imperative. Your child may not wish to tell you directly, a good solid family will see news passed through a grapevine of members, watch and listen.
Your children have never known a world without the internet. Knowing about the risks is important — but so is knowing what to do to help your kids stay safe. This presentation gives you the facts, figures, and helpful advice.
Law enforcement is battling a crime wave that has grown at a frightening rate, more frightening however is the inability of law enforcement to apprehend offenders.
In 2011 the Australian Federal Police charged a total of 136 offenders with child sex crimes and online child sex exploitation charges. Although it doesn’t sound like a huge number, that’s double – 83 in 2010 – the charges from the previous year, it’s a proverbial drop in a bucket.
In 2007 The Victorian Government – via the Sentencing Advisory Council – undertook a study titled Recidivism of Sex Offenders. The study looked at how sex offenders impact on the community. Sex offenders are seen as among the most dangerous kinds of offender in terms of both the impact that their offending has on victims’ lives and because of concerns about their risk of reoffending.
The research paper examined the most recent evidence about whether sex offenders do indeed pose the danger to the community that they are often perceived as posing. The paper was not intended to be an exhaustive critical analysis of the research in this field but rather is designed to provide sound evidence on what is known about the nature of sexual offending and the risk posed to the community by sex offenders.
The conclusion to the research was: Despite the fact that there is now a large body of evidence on the nature of sexual offending and the characteristics of sex offenders, misconceptions still abound. The ‘folk-myths’ about ‘sick’ offenders and ‘stranger danger’ have yet to be replaced by the ‘reality that normal males perpetrate most sexual violence and that most offenders are known to their victims’. That is, most sexual offences are committed by ordinary men. FULL PAPER [pdf]
In July 2011 Fairfax run Brisbane Times reported that more than 3200 child sex offenders were living in Queensland. Child protection advocates say the number is the “tip of the iceberg” and are urging parents to ensure their children are aware of their personal safety and feel free to talk about any intrusions.
Child safety campaigner Hetty Johnston said the numbers did not reflect the true scope of the child sex offending problem, saying few such crimes were reported to authorities and even fewer led to convictions. “They’re just the ones that have been caught and convicted,” she said. “There’s more out there but it just highlights to everybody we need to do something to claw back those numbers.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE
In August 2011 the US Department of Justice conducted an operation codenamed Delago, it targeted a Bulletin Board System called Dreamboard. Operation Delago netted the Justice Department 72 arrests, astoundingly though it also netted them the equivelent of 16,000 DVDs of child pornography.
US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that the amount of child pornography swapped by participants in this network was simply massive. Authorites admit that the ring was much larger, that an unknown number of offenders remain at large.
More recently the BBC reported on a case in the UK, headling Barry McCluskey Appeals Sentence For Preying on 49 Young Girls
Earlier this year McCluskey was jailed for six years and eight months and handed a lifelong restriction order by judge Rita Rae QC last November.
The 39-year-old, from King’s Park, Glasgow, admitted targeting the girls – aged 10 to 15 – between 2007 and 2010. He also blackmailed some victims via Bebo and an instant messaging service.
McCluskey pleaded guilty to 49 offences during a previous hearing at the High Court in Glasgow in February 2010.
The court heard how he preyed on young girls from his family home in Glasgow’s King’s Park, which he shared with his wife and two children. McCluskey, who worked as a nurse at a Glasgow hospital, trawled the Bebo social network site before contacting them via the MSN instant messaging service.
The court was told he posed as a girl named Clare or Missy and used a profile picture of a young female. He also claimed to be gay or bisexual.
Alison Di Rollo, prosecuting, said McCluskey never made face-to-face or physical contact with any of the girls. Di Rollo said that McCluskey got some youngsters to strip and perform sex acts for him as he recorded the footage.
Di Rollo said: “Those who were, or became reluctant, he would ask to do more – telling them if they did not, he may have to forward the video they had already done to friends.”
The court heard how one of his victims begged McCluskey to stop, claiming she hated what was being asked to do, another youngster was sick with fear, felt suicidal and her hair began to fall out. via BBC.
What Parents Can Do
Learn about the Internet
If you are just starting out, see what your local library, community center, school or newspaper offers by way of introduction.
- Get Involved: Spend time online with your child, whether at home, at the library, or at a computer center in your community. Your involvement in your child’s life, including his or her online life, is the best insurance you can have of your child’s safety.
- Stay Informed: Keep yourself informed about the parental control tools that can help you keep your child safe online. This brochure includes an introduction to what currently available tools can and cannot do.
- Become an Advocate: If you see material or practices you do or do not like, contact your Internet Service Provider (the company that provides you with a connection to the Internet) or the company that created the material. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to make sure that this growing medium develops in positive ways for kids.
Parental Control Tools
Where Can I Find Them? There are three primary places from which parents can obtain parental control tools.
- Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) The best place to start is with the company that provides you with a connection to the Internet, such as America Online or Prodigy. Most offer a range of control features, often for free.
- Your Local Computer, Retail or Online Store: Here you can buy “blocking and filtering” software, such as Cyber Patrol or CYBERsitter, that includes features similar to the ones provided by an ISP. You have to set up these products on your own computer. Our recommendation is BitDefender: www.bitdefender.com.au
- Your Web Browser: You also can use certain Web browsers, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, to enforce parental control rating systems. Keep an eye on other parental control tools, such as “safe areas” for children, new types of rating systems, and search engines designed to find only information that has been approved for families.
What Can Parental Control Tools Do? Every tool includes some of the features listed inside this brochure. Decide which features are best for your family, and ask your ISP or local store which product/service meets your needs.
What Can They Not Do? No parental control tool is 100% reliable. Not only do tools inadvertently allow access to some inappropriate material and block access to some valuable information, but savvy children may be able to get around the controls.
Though it all seems daunting, the irony is that the internet is also the best resource for educating, supporting and arming parents.
Not surprisingly, the FBI runs one of the most comprehensive sites – Crimes Against Children – for resources on this heinous subject. The Fact sheets and commentary is easily read.
Children, especially adolescents, are sometimes interested in and curious about sexuality and sexually explicit material. They may be moving away from the total control of parents and seeking to establish new relationships outside their family. Because they may be curious, children/adolescents sometimes use their on-line access to actively seek out such materials and individuals. Sex offenders targeting children will use and exploit these characteristics and needs.
Organisations like NAPCAN have supportive programs and material to assist parents in leading a safe online life.
MAPCANs strategy is to motivate and empower all adults to advocate on behalf of children by influencing behaviour, policy, practice and the law.
Socialising Online – Is an Australian Government initiative aimed at children. The ‘Easy Guide to Socialising Online’ provides information about the cybersafety features of different sites, including social networking sites, search engines and online games. By clicking on the logos for each site, you can learn how to adjust your privacy settings, report inappropriate content and find out more about other safety features.
Child Wise – Child Wise is Australia’s leading international child protection charity committed to the prevention and reduction of sexual abuse and exploitation of children around the world. Child Wise’s primary focus is to prevent abuse before it happens.
Adult grooming is the adult equivalent to child grooming and applies to any behaviour where an adult is prepared so they unwittingly allow abusive behaviour orexploitation to occur later. The abuser typically befriends or builds a relationship with the victim in order to establish a relationship of trust. Well known examples of such abusive behaviours are sexual abuse, elder abuse, financial extortion, human trafficking and sexual slavery.
Although it is a common belief that grooming is most relevant to children, the same or similar psychological processes are used to exploit adults. As with child grooming, adult grooming typically involves:
An online predator is an adult Internet user who exploits vulnerable children or teens, usually for sexual or other abusive purposes.
Online victimization of minors can include child grooming, requests to engage in sexual activities or discussions by an adult, unwanted exposure to sexual material (email with naked pictures, etc.), and online harassment, threats or other aggressive communications that are not sexual in nature but cause distress, fear or embarrassment.
Chat rooms, instant messaging, Internet forums, social networking sites, and even video game consoles have all been accused of attracting online predators. A 2007 study, however, found no cases of minors being targeted by Internet predators on the basis of information they had posted on social networking sites.
Software that attempts to monitor computer activity has seen some popularity with parents concerned about Internet predators. Many experts recommend talking to children and teens about online safety.
There are many organizations that fight against online predators. During 2006 and 2007, the American news-magazine Dateline came out with To Catch a Predator. What began as a single episode turned into a long running and explosively popular continuation of the concept that lasted for several months, and prompted a national dialogue on internet safety for preteens and adolescents. With the participation of vigilantes by the name of Perverted-Justice.com, would-be child abusers were lured to numerous residential homes throughout the US under the ruse of having sex with a young boy or girl.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children funded a study by the Crimes Against Children Resource Center in 2006 of youth Internet users over a five year period. They found:
- An increase in encountering unwanted exposures to sexual material (from 25% to 34%).
- An increase in cases of online harassment (from 6% to 9%).
- A decrease in those receiving unwanted sexual solicitations (from 19% to 13%).
- 40% of all youth Internet users said online solicitors asked them for nude or sexually explicit photographs of themselves.
- Only a minority of youth who had unwanted sexual solicitations, unwanted exposures to sexual material, or harassment said they were distressed by the incidents.
- One-third of the solicitations (31%) were aggressive, meaning the solicitors made, or attempted, offline contact with youth.
The validity of these statistics has been questioned.
Cyberstalking is the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk or harass an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization. It may include false accusations, monitoring, making threats, identity theft, damage to data or equipment, the solicitation of minors for sex, or gathering information in order to harass. The definition of “harassment” must meet the criterion that a reasonable person, in possession of the same information, would regard it as sufficient to cause another reasonable person distress. Cyberstalking is different from spatial or offline stalking. However, it sometimes leads to it, or is accompanied by it.
Preliminary work by Leroy McFarlane and Paul Bocij has identified four types of cyberstalkers: the vindictive cyberstalkers noted for the ferocity of their attacks; the composed cyberstalker whose motive is to annoy; the intimate cyberstalker who attempts to form a relationship with the victim but turns on them if rebuffed; and collective cyberstalkers, groups with motive. According to Antonio Chacón Medina, author of Una nueva cara de Internet, El acoso (“A new face of the Internet: stalking”), the general profile of the harasser is cold, with little or no respect for others. The stalker is a predator who can wait patiently until vulnerable victims appear, such as women or children, or may enjoy pursuing a particular person, whether personally familiar to them or unknown. The harasser enjoys and demonstrates their power to pursue and psychologically damage the victim.
Stalking is a continuous process, consisting of a series of actions, each of which may be entirely legal in itself. Technology ethics professor Lambèr Royakkers writes that:
“Stalking is a form of mental assault, in which the perpetrator repeatedly, unwantedly, and disruptively breaks into the life-world of the victim, with whom he has no relationship (or no longer has), with motives that are directly or indirectly traceable to the affective sphere. Moreover, the separated acts that make up the intrusion cannot by themselves cause the mental abuse, but do taken together (cumulative effect).”
CyberAngels has written about how to identify cyberstalking:
When identifying cyberstalking “in the field,” and particularly when considering whether to report it to any kind of legal authority, the following features or combination of features can be considered to characterize a true stalking situation:malice, premeditation, repetition, distress, obsession, vendetta, no legitimate purpose, personally directed, disregarded warnings to stop, harassment, and threats.
A number of key factors have been identified:
- False accusations. Many cyberstalkers try to damage the reputation of their victim and turn other people against them. They post false information about them on websites. They may set up their own websites, blogs or user pages for this purpose. They post allegations about the victim to newsgroups, chat rooms or other sites that allow public contributions, such as Wikipedia or Amazon.com.
- Attempts to gather information about the victim. Cyberstalkers may approach their victim’s friends, family and work colleagues to obtain personal information. They may advertise for information on the Internet, or hire a private detective. They often will monitor the victim’s online activities and attempt to trace their IP address in an effort to gather more information about their victims.
- Encouraging others to harass the victim. Many cyberstalkers try to involve third parties in the harassment. They may claim the victim has harmed the stalker or his/her family in some way, or may post the victim’s name and telephone number in order to encourage others to join the pursuit.
- False victimization. The cyberstalker will claim that the victim is harassing him/her. Bocij writes that this phenomenon has been noted in a number of well-known cases.
- Attacks on data and equipment. They may try to damage the victim’s computer by sending viruses.
- Ordering goods and services. They order items or subscribe to magazines in the victim’s name. These often involve subscriptions to pornography or ordering sex toys then having them delivered to the victim’s workplace.
- Arranging to meet. Young people face a particularly high risk of having cyberstalkers try to set up meetings between them.
The current US Federal Anti-Cyber-Stalking law is found at 47 USC sec. 223.
The first U.S. cyberstalking law went into effect in 1999 in California. Other states include prohibition against cyberstalking in their harassment or stalking legislation. In Florida, HB 479 was introduced in 2003 to ban cyberstalking. This was signed into law on October 2003.
Some states in the U.S. have begun to address the issue of cyberstalking:
- Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, and New York have included prohibitions against harassing electronic, computer or e-mail communications in their harassment legislation.
- Alaska, Florida, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and California, have incorporated electronically communicated statements as conduct constituting stalking in their anti-stalking laws.
- Texas enacted the Stalking by Electronic Communications Act, 2001.
- Missouri revised its state harassment statutes to include stalking and harassment by telephone and electronic communications (as well as cyber-bullying) after theMegan Meier suicide case of 2006.
- A few states have both stalking and harassment statutes that criminalize threatening and unwanted electronic communications.
- Other states have laws other than harassment or anti-stalking statutes that prohibit misuse of computer communications and e-mail, while others have passed laws containing broad language that can be interpreted to include cyberstalking behaviors
Most stalking laws require that the perpetrator make a credible threat of violence against the victim; others include threats against the victim’s immediate family; and still others require the alleged stalker’s course of conduct constitute an implied threat. While some conduct involving annoying or menacing behavior might fall short of illegal stalking, such behavior may be a prelude to stalking and violence and should be treated seriously.
Online identity stealth blurs the line on infringement of the rights of would-be victims to identify their perpetrators. There is a debate on how internet use can be traced without infringing on protected civil liberties.
In Australia, the Stalking Amendment Act (1999) includes the use of any form of technology to harass a target as forms of “criminal stalking.”
In the United Kingdom, the Malicious Communications Act (1998) classified cyberstalking as a criminal offense.
Child sexual abuse includes a variety of sexual offenses, including:
- sexual assault – a term defining offenses in which an adult touches a minor for the purpose of sexual gratification; for example, rape (including sodomy), and sexual penetration with an object. Most U.S. states include, in their definitions of sexual assault, any penetrative contact of a minor’s body, however slight, if the contact is performed for the purpose of sexual gratification.
- sexual exploitation – a term defining offenses in which an adult victimizes a minor for advancement, sexual gratification, or profit; for example, prostituting a child, and creating or trafficking in child pornography.
- sexual grooming – defines the social conduct of a potential child sex offender who seeks to make a minor more accepting of their advances, for example in an online chat room.
As a medical diagnosis, pedophilia, or paedophilia, is defined as a psychiatric disorder in adults or late adolescents(persons age 16 or older) typically characterized by a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children (generally age 13 years or younger, though onset of puberty may vary). The prepubescent child must be at least five years younger than the adolescent before the attraction can be diagnosed as pedophilia.
Pedophilia has a range of definitions, as found in psychiatry, psychology, the vernacular, and law enforcement. TheInternational Classification of Diseases (ICD) defines it as a “disorder of adult personality and behaviour” in which there is a sexual preference for children of prepubertal or early pubertal age. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), pedophilia is a paraphilia in which a person has intense and recurrent sexual urges towards and fantasies about prepubescent children and on which feelings they have either acted or which cause distress or interpersonal difficulty.
In popular usage, pedophilia means any sexual interest in children or the act of child sexual abuse, often termed “pedophilic behavior.” For example, The American Heritage Stedman’s Medical Dictionary states, “Pedophilia is the act or fantasy on the part of an adult of engaging in sexual activity with a child or children.” This common use application also extends to the sexual interest in and abuse of pubescent or post-pubescent minors. Researchers recommend that these imprecise uses be avoided because although people who commit child sexual abuse commonly exhibit the disorder, some offenders do not meet the clinical diagnosis standards for pedophilia and these standards pertain to prepubescents. Additionally, not all pedophiles actually commit such abuse.
Pedophilia was first formally recognized and named in the late 19th century. A significant amount of research in the area has taken place since the 1980s. Although mostly documented in men, there are also women who exhibit the disorder, and researchers assume available estimates underrepresent the true number of female pedophiles. No cure for pedophilia has been developed, but there are therapies that can reduce the incidence of a person committing child sexual abuse.
In Australia: Any conclusions reached in the discussion of paedophilia rely heavily on the way certain terms are defined. To begin with, the term paedophile is rarely used with any consistency, meaning different things to people from different disciplines. For instance, the clinical definition of the term is very different from its application in law enforcement, which is different again to how the general public interprets it.
The definition of paedophile adopted for the NCA’s strategic assessment was created following a review of relevant literature, and after extensive consultation with all Australian law enforcement agencies. It is not a law enforcement definition per se, as the term paedophile has no basis in legislation, but is a working definition for the purpose of the assessment.
In the United States: Sex offenders that are diagnosed with certain mental disorders, particularly pedophilia, can be subject to indefinite civil commitment, under various state laws (generically called SVP laws) and the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. At present, the exact causes of pedophilia have not been conclusively established. Research suggests that pedophilia may be correlated with several different neurological abnormalities, and often co-exists with other personality disorders and psychological pathologies. In the contexts of forensic psychology and law enforcement, a variety of typologies have been suggested to categorize pedophiles according to behavior and motivations.
The word comes from the Greek: παῖς (paîs), meaning “child,” and φιλία (philía), “friendly love” or “friendship”. This literal meaning has been altered toward sexual attraction in modern times, under the titles “child love” or “child lover,” by pedophiles who use symbols and codes to identify their preferences.
Infantophilia, or nepiophilia, is used to refer to a sexual preference for infants and toddlers (usually ages 0–3), pedophilia is used for individuals with a primary sexual interest in prepubescent children aged 13 or younger, and hebephilia is defined as individuals with a primary sexual interest in 11-14 year old pubescents. The DSM IV does not list hebephilia among the diagnoses, while the ICD-10 includes hebephilia in its pedophilia definition, covering the physical development overlap between the two philias.
Some clinicians have proposed further cateogories, somewhat or completely distinguished from pedophilia, including “pedohebephilia,” “hebephilia,” and “ephebophilia” (though ephebophilia is not considered pathological).
The term paedophilia erotica was coined in 1886 by the Viennese psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing in his writing Psychopathia Sexualis. The term appears in a section titled “Violation of Individuals Under the Age of Fourteen,” which focuses on the forensic psychiatry aspect of child sexual offenders in general. Krafft-Ebing describes several typologies of offender, dividing them into psychopathological and non-psychopathological origins, and hypothesizes several apparent causal factors that may lead to the sexual abuse of children.
Krafft-Ebing mentioned paedophilia erotica in a typology of “psycho-sexual perversion.” He wrote that he had only encountered it four times in his career and gave brief descriptions of each case, listing three common traits:
- The individual is tainted [by heredity] (hereditär belastate)
- The subject’s primary attraction is to children, rather than adults.
- The acts committed by the subject are typically not intercourse, but rather involve inappropriate touching or manipulating the child into performing an act on the subject.
He mentions several cases of pedophilia among adult women (provided by another physician), and also considered the abuse of boys by homosexual men to be extremely rare. Further clarifying this point, he indicated that cases of adult men who have some medical or neurological disorder and abuse a male child are not true pedophilia, and that in his observation victims of such men tended to be older and pubescent. He also lists “Pseudopaedophilia” as a related condition wherein “individuals who have lost libido for the adult through masturbation and subsequently turn to children for the gratification of their sexual appetite” and claimed this is much more common.
In 1908, Swiss neuroanatomist and psychiatrist Auguste Forel wrote of the phenomenon, proposing that it be referred to it as “Pederosis,” the “Sexual Appetite for Children.” Similar to Krafft-Ebing’s work, Forel made the distinction between incidental sexual abuse by persons with dementia and other organic brain conditions, and the truly preferential and sometimes exclusive sexual desire for children. However, he disagreed with Krafft-Ebing in that he felt the condition of the latter was largely ingrained and unchangeable.
The term “pedophilia” became the generally accepted term for the condition and saw widespread adoption in the early 20th century, appearing in many popular medical dictionaries such as the 5th Edition of Stedman’s in 1918. In 1952, it was included in the first edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This edition and the subsequent DSM-II listed the disorder as one subtype of the classification “Sexual Deviation,” but no diagnostic criteria were provided. The DSM-III, published in 1980, contained a full description of the disorder and provided a set of guidelines for diagnosis. The revision in 1987, the DSM-III-R, kept the description largely the same, but updated and expanded the diagnostic criteria.
ICD-10 and DSM
The ICD-10 defines pedophilia as “a sexual preference for children, boys or girls or both, usually of prepubertal or early pubertal age.” Under this system’s criteria, a person 16 years of age or older meets the definition if they have a persistent or predominant sexual preference for prepubescent children at least five years younger than them.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th edition Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) outlines specific criteria for use in the diagnosis of this disorder. These include the presence of sexually arousing fantasies, behaviors or urges that involve some kind of sexual activity with a prepubescent child (age 13 or younger, though onset of puberty may vary) for six months or more, and that the subject has acted on these urges or suffers from distress as a result of having these feelings. The criteria also indicate that the subject should be 16 or older and that the child or children they fantasize about are at least five years younger than them, though ongoing sexual relationships between a 12-13 year old and a late adolescent are advised to be excluded. A diagnosis is further specified by the sex of the children the person is attracted to, if the impulses or acts are limited to incest, and if the attraction is “exclusive” or “nonexclusive.”
Many terms have been used to distinguish “true pedophiles” from non-pedophilic and non-exclusive offenders, or to distinguish among types of offenders on a continuum according to strength and exclusivity of pedophilic interest, and motivation for the offense. Exclusive pedophiles are sometimes referred to as “true pedophiles.” They are attracted to prepubescent children, and prepubescent children only. They show no erotic interest in adults their own age and can only become aroused while fantasizing about or being in the presence of prepubescent children, or both. Non-exclusive offenders — or “non-exclusive pedophiles” — may at times be referred to as non-pedophilic offenders, but the two terms are not always synonymous. Non-exclusive offenders are attracted to both children and adults, and can be sexually aroused by both, though a sexual preference for one over the other in this case may also exist. If a preference for prepubescent children, such offenders are considered pedophiles in the same vein as exclusive offenders.
Neither the ICD nor the DSM diagnostic criteria require actual sexual activity with a prepubescent youth. The diagnosis can therefore be made based on the presence offantasies or sexual urges even if they have never been acted upon. On the other hand, a person who acts upon these urges yet experiences no distress about their fantasies or urges can also qualify for the diagnosis. Acting on sexual urges is not limited to overt sex acts for purposes of this diagnosis, and can sometimes include indecent exposure, voyeuristic or frotteuristic behaviors, or masturbating to child pornography. Often, these behaviors need to be considered in-context with an element of clinical judgment before a diagnosis is made. Likewise, when the patient is in late adolescence, the age difference is not specified in hard numbers and instead requires careful consideration of the situation.
Ego-dystonic sexual orientation includes people who acknowledge that they have a sexual preference for prepubertal children, but wish to change it due to the associated psychological or behavioral problems (or both).
Debate regarding the DSM criteria
The DSM IV criteria have been criticized simultaneously for being over-inclusive, as well as under-inclusive. Though most researchers distinguish between child molesters and pedophiles, Studer and Aylwin argue that the DSM criteria are over-inclusive because all acts of child molestation warrant the diagnosis. A child molester satisfies criteria A because of the behavior involving sexual activity with prepubescent children and criteria B because the individual has acted on those urges. Furthermore, they argue that it also is under-inclusive in the case of individuals who do not act upon it and are not distressed by it. The latter point has also been made by several other researchers who have remarked that a so-called “contented pedophile”—an individual who fantasizes about having sex with a child and masturbates to these fantasies, but does not commit child sexual abuse, and who does not feel subjectively distressed afterward—does not meet the DSM-IV-TR criteria for pedophilia, because this person does not meet Criterion B. A large-scale survey about usage of different classification systems showed that the DSM classification is only rarely used. As an explanation, it was suggested that the under-inclusiveness, as well as a lack of validity, reliability and clarity might have led to the rejection of the DSM classification.
Ray Blanchard, in his literature review for the DSM-5, noted the objections and proposed a general solution applicable to all paraphilias, namely a distinction between paraphilia and paraphilic disorder. The latter term is proposed to identify the diagnosable condition, which meets both Criterion A and B, whereas an individual who does not meet Criterion B, can be ascertained, but not diagnosed, as having a paraphilia. The current proposals for the DSM V will also resolve the current physical development overlap between pedophilia and hebephilia by combining them under Pedophilic Disorder, but with specifiers on which age range (or both) is the primary interest. This new diagnosis would be equivalent to the ICD-10 definition of pedophilia that already includes early pubescents.
O’Donohue, however, took the issue in a different direction, suggesting instead that the diagnostic criteria be simplified to the attraction to children alone if ascertained by self-report, laboratory findings, or past behavior. He states that any sexual attraction to children is pathological and that distress is irrelevant, noting “this sexual attraction has the potential to cause significant harm to others and is also not in the best interests of the individual.” Also arguing for behavioral criteria in defining pedophilia, Howard E. Barbaree and Michael C. Seto disagreed with the American Psychiatric Association’s approach in 1997 and instead recommended the use of actions as the sole criterion for the diagnosis of pedophilia, as a means of taxonomic simplification.
In a 1993 review of research on child sexual abuse, Sharon Araji and David Finkelhor stated that because this field of research was underdeveloped at that time, there are “definitional problems” resulting from lack of standardization among researchers in their use of the term “pedophilia.” They described two definitions, a “restrictive” form referring to individuals with strong and exclusive sexual interest in children, and an “inclusive” definition, expanding the term to include offenders who engaged in sexual contact with a child, including incest. They stated that they used the wider definition in their review paper because behavioral criteria are easier to identify and do not require complex analysis of an individual’s motivations.
Several researchers have reported correlations between pedophilia and certain psychological characteristics, such as low self-esteem and poor social skills. Cohen et al. (2002), studying child sex offenders, states that pedophiles have impaired interpersonal functioning and elevated passive-aggressiveness, as well as impaired self-concept. Regarding disinhibitory traits, pedophiles demonstrate elevated psychopathy and propensity for cognitive distortions. According to the authors, pathologic personality traits in pedophiles lend support to a hypothesis that such pathology is related to both motivation for and failure to inhibit pedophilic behavior.
According to Wilson and Cox (1983), “The paedophiles emerge as significantly higher on Psychoticism, Introversion and Neurotocism than age-matched controls. [But] there is a difficulty in untangling cause and effect. We cannot tell whether paedophiles gravitate towards children because, being highly introverted, they find the company of children less threatening than that of adults, or whether the social withdrawal implied by their introversion is a result of the isolation engendered by their preference i.e., awareness of the social approbation and hostility that it evokes” (p. 324).
Studying child sex offenders, a review of qualitative research studies published between 1982 and 2001 concluded that pedophiles use cognitive distortions to meet personal needs, justifying abuse by making excuses, redefining their actions as love and mutuality, and exploiting the power imbalance inherent in all adult-child relationships. Other cognitive distortions include the idea of “children as sexual beings,” “uncontrollability of sexuality,” and “sexual entitlement-bias.”
One review of the literature concludes that research on personality correlates and psychopathology in pedophiles is rarely methodologically correct, in part owing to confusion between pedophiles and child sex offenders, as well as the difficulty of obtaining a representative, community sample of pedophiles. Seto (2004) points out that pedophiles who are available from a clinical setting are likely there because of distress over their sexual preference or pressure from others. This increases the likelihood that they will show psychological problems. Similarly, pedophiles recruited from a correctional setting have been convicted of a crime, making it more likely that they will show anti-social characteristics.
While not causes of pedophilia themselves, childhood abuse by adults or comorbid psychiatric illnesses — such as personality disorders and substance abuse — are risk factors for acting on pedophilic urges. Blanchard, Cantor, and Robichaud (2006) noted about comorbid psychiatric illnesses that, “The theoretical implications are not so clear. Do particular genes or noxious factors in the prenatal environment predispose a male to develop both affective disorders and pedophilia, or do the frustration, danger, and isolation engendered by unacceptable sexual desires — or their occasional furtive satisfaction — lead to anxiety and despair?” They indicated that, because they previously found mothers of pedophiles to be more likely to have undergone psychiatric treatment, the genetic possibility is more likely.
The prevalence of pedophilia in the general population is not known, but is estimated to be lower than 5% based on several smaller studies with prevalence rates between 3% and 9%.
“Most sexual offenders against children are male, although female offenders may account for 0.4% to 4% of convicted sexual offenders. On the basis of a range of published reports, McConaghy estimates a 10 to 1 ratio of male-to-female child molesters.”
It is believed that the true number of female pedophiles is underrepresented by available estimates, and that reasons for this may include a “societal tendency to dismiss the negative impact of sexual relationships between young boys and adult women, as well as women’s greater access to very young children who cannot report their abuse,” among other explanations.
The term pedophile is commonly used to describe all child sexual abuse offenders, including those who do not meet the clinical diagnosis standards, which is seen as problematic by researchers, as most distinguish between child molesters and pedophiles. A perpetrator of child sexual abuse is commonly assumed to be and referred to as a pedophile; however, there may be other motivations for the crime (such as stress, marital problems, or the unavailability of an adult partner). As child sexual abuse may or may not be an indicator that its perpetrator is a pedophile, offenders may be separated into two types: Exclusive (i.e., “true pedophiles”) and non-exclusive (or, in some cases, “non-pedophilic”). According to a U.S. study on 2429 adult male sex offenders who were categorized as “pedophiles,” only 7% identified themselves as exclusive; indicating that many or most child sexual abusers may fall into the non-exclusive category. However, the Mayo Clinic reports perpetrators who meet the diagnostic criteria for pedophilia offend more often than non-pedophile perpetrators, and with a greater number of victims. They state that approximately 95% of child sexual abuse incidents are committed by the 88% of child molestation offenders who meet the diagnostic criteria for pedophilia. A behavioral analysis report by the FBI states that a “high percentage of acquaintance child molesters are preferential sex offenders who have a true sexual preference for [prepubescent] children (i.e., true pedophiles).”
A review article in the British Journal of Psychiatry notes the overlap between extrafamilial and intrafamilial offenders. One study found that around half of the fathers and stepfathers in its sample who were referred for committing extrafamilial abuse had also been abusing their own children.
As noted by Abel, Mittleman, and Becker (1985) and Ward et al. (1995), there are generally large distinctions between the two types of offenders’ characteristics. Situational offenders tend to offend at times of stress; have a later onset of offending; have fewer, often familial victims; and have a general preference for adult partners. Pedophilic offenders, however, often start offending at an early age; often have a large number of victims who are frequently extrafamilial; are more inwardly driven to offend; and have values or beliefs that strongly support an offense lifestyle. Research suggests that incest offenders recidivate at approximately half the rate of extrafamilial child molesters, and one study estimated that by the time of entry to treatment, nonincestuous pedophiles who molest boys had committed an average of 282 offenses against 150 victims.
Some child molesters — pedophiles or not — threaten their victims to stop them from reporting their actions. Others, like those that often victimize children, can develop complex ways of getting access to children, like gaining the trust of a child’s parent, trading children with other pedophiles or, infrequently, get foster children from non-industrialized nations or abduct child victims from strangers. Offending pedophiles may often act interested in the child, to gain the child’s interest, loyalty and affection to keep the child from letting others know about the abuse.
Child pornography is commonly collected by pedophiles who use the images for a variety of purposes, ranging from private sexual uses, trading with other pedophiles, preparing children for sexual abuse as part of the process known as “child grooming,” or enticement leading to entrapment for sexual exploitation such as production of new child pornography or child prostitution.
Pedophile viewers of child pornography are often obsessive about collecting, organizing, categorizing, and labeling their child pornography collection according to age, gender, sex act and fantasy. According to FBI agent Ken Lanning, “collecting” pornography does not mean that they merely view pornography, but that they save it, and “it comes to define, fuel, and validate their most cherished sexual fantasies.” An extensive collection indicates a strong sexual preference for children and the owned collection is the single best indicator of what he or she wants to do. Researchers Taylor and Quayle reported that pedophile collectors of child pornography are often involved in anonymous internet communities dedicated to extending their collections. Pedophile online community bulletin boards (such as the defunct Dreamboard, taken down in Operation Delego), often includes technical advice regarding encryption and other measures from experienced child pornographers to assist new perpetrators from detection from law enforcement.
Child Sexual Abuse
Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation. Forms of child sexual abuse include asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities (regardless of the outcome), indecent exposure (of the genitals, female nipples, etc.) with intent to gratify their own sexual desires or to intimidate or groom the child, physical sexual contact with a child, or using a child to producechild pornography.
The effects of child sexual abuse can include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, propensity to further victimization in adulthood, and physical injury to the child, among other problems. Sexual abuse by a family member is a form of incest, and can result in more serious and long-term psychological trauma, especially in the case of parental incest.
The global prevalence of child sexual abuse has been estimated at 19.7% for females and 7.9% for males, according to a 2009 study published in Clinical Psychology Review that examined 65 studies from 22 countries. Using the available data, the highest prevalence rate of child sexual abuse geographically was found in Africa (34.4%), primarily because of high rates in South Africa; Europe showed the lowest prevalence rate (9.2%); America and Asia had prevalence rates between 10.1% and 23.9%. In the past, other research has concluded similarly that in North America, for example, approximately 15% to 25% of women and 5% to 15% of men were sexually abused when they were children. Most sexual abuse offenders are acquainted with their victims; approximately 30% are relatives of the child, most often brothers, fathers, uncles or cousins; around 60% are other acquaintances such as ‘friends’ of the family, babysitters, or neighbors; strangers are the offenders in approximately 10% of child sexual abuse cases. Most child sexual abuse is committed by men; studies show that women commit 14% to 40% of offenses reported against boys and 6% of offenses reported against girls. Most offenders who sexually abuse prepubescent children are pedophiles, although some offenders do not meet the clinical diagnosis standards for pedophilia.
Under the law, “child sexual abuse” is an umbrella term describing criminal and civil offenses in which an adult engages in sexual activity with a minor or exploits a minor for the purpose of sexual gratification. TheAmerican Psychiatric Association states that “children cannot consent to sexual activity with adults”, and condemns any such action by an adult: “An adult who engages in sexual activity with a child is performing a criminal and immoral act which never can be considered normal or socially acceptable behavior.”
Child sexual abuse can result in both short-term and long-term harm, including psychopathology in later life. Psychological, emotional, physical, and social effects include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, eating disorders, poor self-esteem, dissociative and anxiety disorders; general psychological distress and disorders such as somatization, neurosis, chronic pain, sexualized behavior, school/learning problems; and behavior problems including substance abuse, self-destructive behaviour,animal cruelty, crime in adulthood and suicide. A specific characteristic pattern of symptoms has not been identified and there are several hypotheses about the causality of these associations
Long term negative effects on development leading to repeated or additional victimization in adulthood are also associated with child sexual abuse. Studies have established a causal relationship between childhood sexual abuse and certain specific areas of adult psychopathology, including suicidality, antisocial behavior, PTSD, anxiety and alcoholism. Adults with a history of abuse as a child, especially sexual abuse, are more likely than people with no history of abuse to become frequent users of emergency and medical care services.
A study comparing middle-aged women who were abused as children with non-abused counterparts found significantly higher health care costs for the former.
Sexually abused children suffer from more psychological symptoms than children who have not been abused; studies have found symptoms in 51% to 79% of sexually abused children. The risk of harm is greater if the abuser is a relative, if the abuse involves intercourse or attempted intercourse, or if threats or force are used. The level of harm may also be affected by various factors such as penetration, duration and frequency of abuse, and use of force. The social stigma of child sexual abuse may compound the psychological harm to children, and adverse outcomes are less likely for abused children who have supportive family environments.
Research has shown that traumatic stress, including stress caused by sexual abuse, causes notable changes in brain functioning and development. Various studies have suggested that severe child sexual abuse may have a deleterious effect on brain development. Ito et al. (1998) found “reversed hemispheric asymmetry and greater left hemisphere coherence in abused subjects;” Teicher et al. (1993) found that an increased likelihood of “ictal temporal lobe epilepsy-like symptoms” in abused subjects; Anderson et al. (2002) recorded abnormal transverse relaxation time in the cerebellar vermis of adults sexually abused in childhood; Teicher et al. (1993) found that child sexual abuse was associated with a reduced corpus callosum area; various studies have found an association of reduced volume of the left hippocampus with child sexual abuse; and Ito et al. (1993) found increased electrophysiological abnormalities in sexually abused children.
Some studies indicate that sexual or physical abuse in children can lead to the overexcitation of an undeveloped limbic system. Teicher et al. (1993) used the “Limbic System Checklist-33″ to measure ictal temporal lobe epilepsy-like symptoms in 253 adults. Reports of child sexual abuse were associated with a 49% increase to LSCL-33 scores, 11% higher than the associated increase of self-reported physical abuse. Reports of both physical and sexual abuse were associated with a 113% increase. Male and female victims were similarly affected.
Navalta et al. (2006) found that the self-reported math Scholastic Aptitude Test scores of their sample of women with a history of repeated child sexual abuse were significantly lower than the self-reported math SAT scores of their non-abused sample. Because the abused subjects verbal SAT scores were high, they hypothesized that the low math SAT scores could “stem from a defect in hemispheric integration.” They also found a strong association between short term memory impairments for all categories tested (verbal, visual, and global) and the duration of the abuse.
Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) is a task-force started by the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in 1998. Its primary goals are to provide state and local law enforcement agencies the tools to prevent Internet crimes against children by encouraging multi-jurisdictional cooperation as well as educating both law enforcement agents and parents and teachers. The aims of ICAC task forces are to catch distributors of child pornography on the Internet, whether delivered on-line or solicited on-line and distributed through other channels and to catch sexual predators who solicit victims on the Internet through chat rooms, forums and other methods. Currently all fifty states participate in ICAC.
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is a non-governmental charitable body based in the United Kingdom. It states that its remit is “to minimise the availability of ‘potentially criminal’ Internet content, specifically images of child sexual abuse hosted anywhere, and criminally obscene adult content in the UK”. Content inciting racial hatred was removed from the IWF’s remit on the setting up of a police website for the purpose in April 2011. The IWF clarifies on its website that potentially criminal activity is addressed, as content can be confirmed to be criminal only by a court of law. As part of its function, the IWF says that it will “supply partners with an accurate and current URL list to enable blocking of child sexual abuse content”. It has “an excellent and responsive national Hotline reporting service” for receiving reports from the public. From 2010 the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) required all procurement specifications for the provision of Internet-related services to government agencies and public bodies to require theInternet service provider (ISP) to block access to sites [sic] on the IWF list.
The IWF operates in informal partnership with the police, government, public, and Internet service providers. Originally formed to police suspected child pornography online, the IWF’s remit was later expanded to cover criminally obscene material.
The IWF is an incorporated charity, limited by guarantee, and largely funded by voluntary contributions from UK communications service providers, including ISPs, mobile phone operators, Internet trade associations, search engines, hardware manufacturers, and software providers. It also receives funding from the Association for Payment Clearing Services and the European Union.
The IWF is governed by a Board of Trustees which consists of an independent chair, six non-industry representatives, and three industry representatives. The Board monitors and reviews IWF’s remit, strategy, policy and budget to enable the IWF to achieve its objectives. The IWF operates from offices in Oakington, nearCambridge.
Crimes Against Children Research Center: The mission of the Crimes Against Children Research Center (CCRC) at the University of New Hampshire is to combat crimes against children by providing high quality research and statistics to the public, policy makers, law enforcement personnel, and other child welfare practitioners. CCRC is concerned with research about the nature of crimes including child abduction, homicide, rape, assault, online predators and physical and sexual abuse as well as their impact.