Accepting that someone has sexual thoughts about children


Wellbeing and self-care

For wives and partners, parents, adult family members and friends of people who they suspect or know may be engaging in inappropriate behaviour involving children.

Read More

Coming to terms with the reality that a person close to you has been having sexual thoughts about children and/or abusing a child can be a very difficult process.

Maybe when you first found out about or suspected the behaviour you didn’t think it could be true. This is a normal defence mechanism, which helps you to protect yourself, because the reality might be too painful.

Denial is activated when people are afraid and is a common defence against scary or unwanted information. It allows individuals to act as though the thing that has caused so much pain and turmoil has not happened.

People we have supported have told us some of the reasons they initially denied or struggled to accept their partner’s offending or sexual thoughts about children.

  • Fear of losing the relationships: for example, “I love him, I am afraid to lose him if he will have to leave” or “The kids need him”.
  • Fear of stigma: for example, “People will blame me; they will think I should have known and done something about it”.
  • Fear of punishment or consequences: for example, “They will think I am a bad mother” or “Children’s Services will take the kids away” or “I want things to stay the same”.
  • Loss of esteem: for example, “I should have known, it’s my fault because we were arguing all the time.”

We can support you if you have these kinds of concerns regardless of whether you want to continue your relationship or not.

If you have any concerns, questions, or would just like to talk about what you are going through, our non-judgemental helpline advisors are here to support you. You can stay anonymous and don’t have to give your real name or any contact details. If you’re not ready to speak to anyone yet, you can also use our live chat or send a secure email.

Often the most important part of safeguarding children is recognising the risks and past behaviour and putting things in place to prevent it from happening again.

To find out more about how to protect children please look at Parents Protect including the section on creating a family safety plan.

Back to top