Pedophilic Interests in the United States: Current Prevention Practices and Suggestions for Future Policy and Research

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Adults with pedophilic interests are often viewed by the public as a homogenous subgroup based on what we know from those who sexually offend against children. The stigma associated with child sexual abuse may serve to deter such behaviors but may also interfere with the person’s stability and willingness to seek assistance in managing pedophilic interests. This article contrasts the sex offender response and prevention efforts typically employed in the U.S. (i.e., containment, registration, and notification policies and public education programs) with treatment programs aimed at preventing child sexual abuse in Germany, Belgium, and Canada. Five major areas are identified that should be further examined with regard to implementing preventative outreach and treatment programs in the U.S.: barriers to outreach and treatment programs, how to expand or reframe current preventative educational programs, implementation of such programs in light of current mandating reporting policies, promising treatment approaches for pedophilic interests among non-offenders, and ethical concerns relevant to preventative psychological interventions.