Understanding the lived experience of British non-offending paedophiles

DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/JFP-10-2019-0046
Publication Date13 February 2020
Pages71-81
Date13 February 2020
AuthorHarriet Dymond,Simon Duff
SubjectHealth & social care,Criminology & forensic psychology,Forensic practice,Sociology,Sociology of crime & law,Law enforcement/correctional,Public policy & environmental management,Policing,Criminal justice
Understanding the lived experience of
British non-offending paedophiles
Harriet Dymond and Simon Duff
Abstract
Purpose Researchinto paedophilia mainly uses offender samples; thus, little is understoodabout non-
offending paedophiles. The limited body of research has been conducted in North America or Europe
whose health and legal systems differ from those in the UK. Using semi-structured interviews, the
purposeof this study is to explore the experience of threenon-offending British paedophilicmales.
Design/methodology/approach The interview discussedtheir paedophilia, refraining from offending
and perspectives on treatment initiatives. Data were analysed using interpretative phenomenological
analysis.
Findings Three superordinatethemes emerged: ‘‘paedophilia as more thana sexuality,’’ ‘‘acceptance
leads to management’’and ‘‘barriers to support.’’ Theseencapsulated how paedophilia was understood,
how accepting one’ssexual attraction is tantamount to well-being and the variousobstacles to providing
supportwere discussed.
Research limitations/implications Acknowledging the sampling considerations (size and
recruitment), the results implicate research into paedophilia. The onset of paedophilia was
chronologically associated with typical sexual attraction, and not the result of sexual abuse as some
theories suggest. Furthermore, the tenets of attraction to children extendingbeyond sexual desire were
highlighted. Practically,the results influence future research intothe area and highlight the dearth in our
understanding of diversebehavioural management techniques (i.e. computerised images of children or
human-likedolls).
Originality/value This paper presents novel insight into the aspects of paedophilia, excluding
offensive behaviourand highlights the need for affordable, UK-based services targetedtowards people
with a paedophilicattraction to manage childsexual abuse preventatively and notreactively.
Keywords Prevention, Sexual offending, Sexuality, Child sexual abuse, Minor attraction, Paedophilia
Paper type Research paper
Introduction
Sexual preference for children accounts for approximately a quarter to a half of child
molestation offences (Seto, 2012), suggesting that many child sex offenders are not
paedophilic in their preference and vice versa. Recent research identified distinctions
between paedophilic offenders, non-paedophilic offenders and paedophilic non-offenders
on measures of personality and self-reported levels of childhood abuse (Gerwinn et al.,
2018), thus confirming that these groups should not be interchangeably evaluated. Similar
to males and females admitting sexualarousal by rape fantasies, without wanting to rape or
be raped, a person’s sexual fantasies towardschildren may not be necessarily predictive of
sexual behaviour (Berlin, 2014). Qualitative interviews with paedophilic males, imprisoned
for sexual offences against children, revealed the internal battle that they faced with their
sexuality and the assumed stability of paedophilia (Walton and Duff, 2017). Results from
forensic populations of paedophiles are valuable, but may be confounded by sex offender
treatment programs and traits acquired in the prison or hospital environment (Walton and
Duff, 2017).
Harriet Dymond and
Simon Duff are both based
at the Centre for Forensic
and Family Psychology,
University of Nottingham,
Nottingham, UK.
Received 21 October 2019
Revised 10 January 2020
Accepted 10 January 2020
The authors wish to express
deep gratitude to the three
brave and courageous men
who shared their stories for the
purposes of this project.
DOI 10.1108/JFP-10-2019-0046 VOL. 22 NO. 2 2020, pp. 71-81, ©Emerald Publishing Limited, ISSN 2050-8794 jTHE JOURNAL OF FORENSIC PRACTICE jPAGE 71

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