Who may experience sexual thoughts about children?

It’s often assumed that people who have sexual thoughts about children, or commit sexual offences, are somehow very different from the rest of society. Newspapers in particular may refer to them as ‘monsters’ or ‘perverts’ for example.

This language is hard to understand for anyone who is trying to come to terms with such behaviour in a partner, child, parent or someone close to them. In reality, people who experience sexual thoughts about children range in age from adolescents to pensioners and come from all kinds of backgrounds and ethnicities. They include civil servants, politicians, entertainers and people in the media, those in the public sector, shop workers and tradesmen (to name a few).

The overwhelming majority of those who experience sexual thoughts about children, or commit sexual offences against children, are male, so we refer to them as ‘he’; however, females also commit sexual offences against children, and can also be troubled by their sexual thoughts.

It’s important that we realise that people who experience sexual thoughts about children are, in most ways, no different from anyone else; that way, we are better able to talk about the issue and not assume it’s just something that ‘happens to someone else’. 

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