The Science Of Why Are Some People Attracted To Children

Child sex offenders don’t have horns and tails. For the most part, they look and act like you and me. Shutterstock/JoeBakal
Elise Andrew 29 May 2016, 11:13

How Do People Access Children?

Almost 90% of sexually abused children are abused by someone they know.

Of the remaining 10%, some are victimised as part of the sex trade, where children are bought and sold for cash. This was brought into the spotlight this week with the news that a Melbourne man allegedly travelled to Los Angeles to purchase a six-year-old boy for sex.

Sadly this is not unusual. INTERPOL (the world police) has noted a recent increase in people who travel abroad to sexually abuse children; a process known as “child sex tourism”.

Sex tourism has become the scourge of the 21st century as a result of increased and cheap world travel, and Australia has its fair share of sex tourists. Many people believe they won’t get caught if they travel to (often) developing countries to abuse children or that Australian laws don’t apply abroad. Wrong.

Any Australian travelling abroad to sexually abuse children will face the same charges as if they offended on home turf. The Federal Police are well aware of this sinister activity and have already successfully prosecuted a number of individuals under Child Sex Tourism laws.

Are They Likely To Re-Offend?

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 who don’t share their sexual attraction to children, this is why one serial sex offender told me he offends. He understands that society deems what he did was wrong, but he can’t understand why this is the case.

Recidivism rates among child sex offenders are high. Around 17% of child sex offenders are likely to re-offend within two years. 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 for judges in Australia. But this is already a voluntary option for offenders and we know it does not work. Often, child sex offenders are driven by a desire to dominate and control, not simply sexual desire.

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