Child sexual abuse is a difficult topic. If you find yourself triggered by any of the website’s content, please stop and take the time you need to talk with someone to get support. If you need help now, please contact one of these resources today.
The Help Wanted study team is currently looking for professionals who work or have worked with people who are attracted to children to provide feedback on the Help Wanted site.
This is a chance to contribute to this groundbreaking prevention effort and will only take 30-60 minutes. To participate, contact Ryan Shields at email@example.com.
Further detail from MASOC about the Help Wanted research findings:
BOTTOM LINE Adolescents with a sexual interest in younger children are a hidden population, with little or no access to resources or positive role models of others living safe healthy and connected lives.
RESEARCH The fact that most sexual abuse and assault of children and adolescents takes place at the hands of other children and adolescents (76.7% for males and 70.1% for females) means that these children and adolescents are important to understand and treat (Gewirtz-Meydan & Finkelhor, 2019). These young people come from diverse backgrounds and often have a wide variety of motivations for their behavior. A very small number of these youths will sexually abuse a younger child because of their sexual interest in children. […] Finally, participants were asked to describe what resources they would have found helpful. Most notably, they described the need for successful role models, including other adolescents who lead healthy, safe lives. They also suggested the need for positive messaging and accessible support services. The researchers found that what participants wanted most was to be treated as human in need of understanding and not identified as monsters to be imprisoned and discarded.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PROFESSIONALS Professionals working with youth at risk for causing sexual harm have long known that this work requires expertise in many areas, including social and sexual development, as well as helping young people improve their skills across all domains of life. This study reminds us all that for youth with a sexual attraction to children have a unique experience of social and emotional isolation from peers and families that is compounded by many internal and external factors. . A major implication is that professionals must be skilled not only at preventing abuse, but must also have mastery at creating an atmosphere of safety for internal struggles and beliefs.