Adolescents think that school bullying “has always happened and will keep on happening” and they resign themselves to this problem, according to a study

A research work conducted at the University of Granada reveals that schoolchildren see the victims as “passive persons and socially incompetent”, and the abusers as “strong, brave and extrovert individuals”
To carry out this work, the authors conducted a survey on 1,237 children aged between 11 and 16 years old from Granada and Braga (Portugal), who completed a questionnaire in order to get to know their perception about ‘bullying’

UGR News Most of the adolescents think that bullying in the school context “has always happened and will continue happening”, and present “a negative, pessimistic and resigned attitude” towards this social problem, which makes difficult the intervention and leaves few hopes for its eradication.

Those are the conclusions of a doctoral thesis carried out at the department of Evolutionary and Education Psychology of the University of Granada (Spain), which warns that, from the viewpoint of psycho-pedagogical action, “it is necessary to prove to the children that this type of behaviours do not have to go on forever, and that it is possible to do something to stop them” through more complete educative programmes.

This work, whose objective was to find out the representation of adolescents about the phenomenon of bullying, has been conducted by professor Mª Jesús Caurcel Cara, and supervised by professors Fernando Justicia Justicia (UGR), Ana Mª Tomás Almeida (Universidade do Minho, Portugal) and Mª del Carmen Pichardo Martínez (UGR)

To carry out this work, the authors conducted a survey on 1,237 children aged between 11 and 16 years old from Granada and Braga (Portugal), who completed a questionnaire in order to get to know their perception about ‘bullying’. The researchers confirmed that, in school centres studied, there are conducts of victimization with an incidence rate of 7.3% of victims, 8.5% of abusers and 84.1% of audience ‘children’.

Bullying, “something natural”
Mª Jesús Caurcel has ascertained that “bullying in getting more and more integrated in the daily routine of interaction among groups of peers, is considered as something natural and has certain social approval”. Schoolchildren approve abusers’ behaviour, and leave the victim isolated and unprotected.

The questionnaire applied to children revealed that, to describe the major figures of bullying, the participants use social stereotypes, characterizing their victims as passive persons, socially incompetent and who experiences unpleasant emotional states of anxiety, depression and insecurity; and the abuser as a strong, brave and extrovert person who experiences pleasant emotional states (a happy victimizer) which give him power and self-confidence, reinforce their status in the group and inhibit other social motivations to end up with the abuses.

Differences by sex
The research work carried out at the UGR has also proved that there are differences depending on sex on the social schoolchildren’s perception of bullying. Girls condemn abuses in more critic way, respond with unpleasant emotions to them, reject this kind of situations and show more empathy to the victims, describing them with a wide set of positive characteristics, admitting their suffering and being able to share their emotional state.

On the other hand, boys highlighted in their categorizations the vulnerability and the moral responsibility of the victims and asserted, “they should feel guilty and ashamed”.

Differences by age
As regards the differences found depending on the age of the participants in the study, the most accused differences were found among pre-adolescents aged between 11 and 12 years old and adolescents from15 years old. “The perception of the victims’ vulnerability and the intensity of the rejection against abusers became accentuated as adolescents grew older, which is due to a higher internalization of the social rules by children”, explains Caurcel.

The study carried out at the UGR has permitted to detect connections, regularities and risk and protection factors which could be useful as starting points to implement appropriate, consistent and realistic interventions in the schools studied. In addition, it will contribute to determine the blocks to work with for direct intervention programs useful to help adolescents to get out of such a spiral of unjustified violence by themselves, with the support of the entire Education Community.

Part of the results of the research work have been published in the Revista Iberoamericana de Diagnóstico y Evaluación Psicológica, Electronical Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, Revista de Educación de la Universidad de Granada, Interamerican Journal of Psychology or the European Journal of Education and Psychology.

Reference: Mª Jesús Caurcel Cara. Department of Evolutionary and Education Psychology of the University of Granada. Telephone n.:               958 242 944         958 242 944. E-mail:

Psychology of pedophilia


The media storm surrounding Dennis Ferguson could push him into reoffending, despite his claims today that he has no interest in touching children, a psychologist says.

As angry neighbours and the NSW Government sought ways to have the convicted pedophile moved from public housing in Ryde, Mr Ferguson today told the ABC that nobody ought to fear having him as a neighbour.

But Dr John Clarke, a psychologist from Sydney University with expertise in sexual assault and homicide cases, said certain types of pedophiles could never be rehabilitated because they did not perceive their desires as perverse.

“The other thing is some offenders, when under intense stress from outside, will revert back to what they know, for example, victimising a child because it gives them a sense of power,” he said.

“All this media attention [on Mr Ferguson] wouldn’t be very helpful at all.”

Pedophiles could be broadly categorised as “fixated” – those who exclusively sought to have sex with children – or “regressed” – those who sought sex with a child because it gives them a sense of power, he said.

Mr Ferguson was most likely a “fixated” pedophile – that is, someone who did not admit any guilt over their actions, refused any corrective treatment, and rationalised their behaviour as normal, he said.

“They will say that the child is more developed than what they are given credit for, and that the child loves them.

“Because they rationalise it so well, therapy doesn’t work because they see all the reasoning as wrong.

“They think society is trying to change them when it’s society that needs to change.”

The implementation of sex-offenders’ registers and restrictive parole conditions for people such as Mr Ferguson was a response to the ineffectiveness of treatment, Dr Clarke said.

“That’s [the government’s] answer to [to the fact some pedophiles can’t be rehabilitated] – monitor those people and assign a risk level.

“But how effective that is, I don’t know – in reality you can’t monitor someone 24 hours a day.”

Over the years Mr Ferguson had worked with a number of psychologists and doctors, his spokesman Brett Collins said.

“The suggestion that he hasn’t taken responsibility is wrong,” he said.

But Mr Collins was not aware of Mr Ferguson actually apologising for his crimes.

“Over the years I think he’s been too battered to want to talk about it,” he said.

It was possible Mr Ferguson did not currently desire to touch children, as he stated on radio, Dr Clarke said.

“Not because he thinks it’s wrong, but because he can see that the consequences of doing what he wants outweigh the benefits, for example, going to jail or being forced to move.”

But it was not possible to know when a former child sex offender’s sexual urge would be too intense for them to resist, he said.

“I can understand people who live near him not wanting a pedophile in their area.”

Risk factors for the perpetration of child sexual abuse: a review and meta-analysis

Whitaker DJ, Le B, Karl Hanson R, Baker CK, McMahon PM, Ryan G, Klein A, Rice DD.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.

OBJECTIVES: Since the late 1980s, there has been a strong theoretical focus on psychological and social influences of perpetration of child sexual abuse. This paper presents the results of a review and meta-analysis of studies examining risk factors for perpetration of child sexual abuse published since 1990.

METHOD: Eighty-nine studies published between 1990 and April of 2003 were reviewed. Risk factors were classified into one of the following six broad categories: family factors, externalizing behaviors, internalizing behaviors, social deficits, sexual problems, and attitudes/beliefs. Sex offenders against children (SOC) were compared to three comparison groups identified within the 89 studies: sex offenders who perpetrated against adults (SOA), non-sex offenders, and non-offenders with no history of criminal or sexual behavior problems.

RESULTS: Results for the six major categories showed that SOC were not different from SOA (all d between -.02 and .14) other than showing lower externalizing behaviors (d=-.25). Sex offenders against children were somewhat different from non-sex offenders, especially with regard to sexual problems and attitudes (d=.83 and .51). Sex offenders against children showed substantial differences from non-offenders with medium sized effects in all six major categories (d’s range from .39 to .58).

CONCLUSION: Child sex offenders are different from non-sex offenders and non-offenders but not from sex offenders against adults.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: This study suggests that the presence of general risk factors may lead to a variety of negative behavioral outcomes, including the perpetration of child sexual offending. Family factors were strongly related to the perpetration of child sex offending (vs. non-sexual offending or non-offending) and may be valuable intervention points for interrupting the development of child sex offending, as well as other negative behaviors. Other potential points for intervention may focus on the development of appropriate social and emotional skills that contribute to sexual offending.

PMID: 18513795 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE

see  on Child Abuse Negl. 2008 May;32(5):529-48. Epub 2008 May 29

Pornography and sexual abuse in the Internet

Hill A, Briken P, Berner W.

Universitätsklinikum, Hamburg-Eppendorf, BRD.

Internet pornography has been regarded as either stimulating sexual aggression and abuse or as serving as a safety valve. This controversy is an important issue in health, media and legal politics.

According to empirical studies on pornography in general, soft-core pornography and nonviolent pornography can be regarded as harmless, whereas non-violent hard-core pornography and violent pornography may increase aggression. Individuals with a high risk for sexual aggression show more interest in violent pornography and are stimulated more strongly through such material.

Two case histories illustrate the characteristics of internet pornography and “cybersex”: easy access, anonymity, affordability, wide range and deviation of the material, unlimited market, blurring the borders between consumer and producer, interactive communication, space for experimenting between fantasy and in real-life behavior, virtual identities, easy contact between offender and victim or among offenders, and low risk of apprehension.

The phenomenon of “sexual addiction” (or paraphilia- related disorder) is particularly relevant for the problematic use of internet pornography. Preventive measures to protect possible victims are presented as well as treatment strategies for offenders. Beside limiting access to the internet, these include therapy of comorbid psychiatric disorders and psychological problems (social isolation, bereavement, stress- and anger-management, guilt and shame, childhood traumata, cognitive distortion, victim empathy), psychopharmacotherapy and the enhancement of a more integrative and relationship-oriented sexuality.

PMID: 17177094 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE

(original article in German)

Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2007 Jan;50(1):90-102.Articles Links

Brain Pathology in Pedophilic Offenders

Evidence of Volume Reduction in the Right Amygdala and Related Diencephalic Structures

Kolja Schiltz, MD; Joachim Witzel, MD; Georg Northoff, MD, PhD; Kathrin Zierhut, MSc; Udo Gubka, MD; Hermann Fellmann, MD; Jörn Kaufmann, PhD; Claus Tempelmann, PhD; Christine Wiebking, MSc; Bernhard Bogerts, MD

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2007;64(6):737-746.


Articles Articles

Context Pedophilic crime causes considerable public concern,but no causative factor of pedophilia has yet been pinpointed.In the past, etiological theories postulated a major impactof the environment, but recent studies increasingly emphasizethe role of neurobiological factors, as well. However, the roleof alterations in brain structures that are crucial in the developmentof sexual behavior has not yet been systematically studied inpedophilic subjects.

Objective To examine whether pedophilic perpetrators showstructural neuronal deficits in brain regions that are criticalfor sexual behavior and how these deficits relate to criminologicalcharacteristics.

Design Amygdalar volume and gray matter of related structuresthat are critical for sexual development were compared in 15nonviolent male pedophilic perpetrators (forensic inpatients)and 15 controls using complementary morphometric analyses (voxel-basedmorphometry and volumetry). Psychosocial adjustment and sexualoffenses were also assessed.

Results Pedophilic perpetrators showed a significant decreaseof right amygdalar volume, compared with healthy controls (P = .001).We observed reduced gray matter in the right amygdala, hypothalamus(bilaterally), septal regions, substantia innominata, and bednucleus of the striae terminalis. In 8 of the 15 perpetrators,enlargement of the anterior temporal horn of the right lateralventricle that adjoins the amygdala could be recognized by routinequalitative clinical assessment. Smaller right amygdalar volumeswere correlated with the propensity to commit uniform pedophilicsexual offenses exclusively (P = .006) but not withage (P = .89).

Conclusions Pedophilic perpetrators show structural impairmentsof brain regions critical for sexual development. These impairmentsare not related to age, and their extent predicts how focusedthe scope of sexual offenses is on uniform pedophilic activity.Subtle defects of the right amygdala and closely related structuresmight be implicated in the pathogenesis of pedophilia and mightpossibly reflect developmental disturbances or environmentalinsults at critical periods.

see full text in

Is pedophilia a product of nature or nurture?

Jul,  2009

Robyn Doolittle
Crime Reporter

Is pedophilia hereditary?

The truth is scientists don’t know yet, said James Cantor, a psychologist with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. But, he said, studies show that someone who is sexually attracted to children is biologically different from non-pedophiles.

“Over the past five years, we’ve been gaining more and more … clues that this is the case,” said Cantor, one of the few scientists in the country studying the issue.

In recent years, researchers have shown pedophiles are three times more likely to be left-handed and are “significantly” shorter than non-pedophiles.

Their IQs are typically 10 points below average and they more frequently suffered head injuries as children. By this logic, it would seem nature, rather than nurture, is to blame.

On Wednesday, it was announced identical twin brothers Ronald and Donald Croft have been charged with possessing child pornography. Det. Sgt. Kim Scanlan, who heads the Toronto police child exploitation unit, says that in general, research indicates those who collect child pornography have “a propensity to be hands-on offenders.”

The 40-year-old twins from Scarborough are not the first close relations accused of being sexually attracted to children.

In April, Donald Mumford, 56, was convicted for the sixth time of sexually exploiting young boys. Mumford’s son, Wayne, is also a convicted child molester. In 1995, Wayne Mumford, then 19, was convicted of sexually assaulting his 7-year-old cousin. In February, 30-year-old Junior Spencer was released from prison after serving time for various offences. He had been convicted of making, possessing and distributing child pornography between 1995 and 2005. His twin bother, Stephen, was convicted in 2000 of possessing child pornography. But Cantor cautions that DNA is likely only part of the story.

For one thing, identical twins do have the same DNA. But there is another layer of biology: epigenetics. This is what turns certain genes on and off, explaining how two people who look the same can be so different.

Cantor also notes that most twins share not only biology but also an upbringing. In all likelihood, multiple cases of pedophilia in the same family are the result of both biological and environmental factors, he said.

The researcher is in the final stages of a study examining minor skin malformations in pedophiles, such as attached earlobes or webbed toes.

“The fetal tissue that produces the skin is the same tissue that produces the brain and they develop at the same time,” he explains. “And there’s a very strong association … between the number of these minor physical anomalies a person has and sometimes very dramatic brain-related disorders, like schizophrenia. “Taken by themselves, of course, they don’t really mean anything. It’s when you put all of these things together that it gives us a clue for when in life they happened. That then tells us, in turn, when in life our interventions should be aimed in order to prevent it.”

Research article

The consumption of Internet child pornography and violent and sex offending

Jérôme Endrass1, Frank Urbaniok1, Lea C Hammermeister1, Christian Benz2, Thomas Elbert3, Arja Laubacher1and Astrid Rossegger1

1Department of Justice, Psychiatric/Psychological Service, Canton of Zurich, Feldstrasse 42, 8004 Zurich, Switzerland

2Praxis Dr. Benz, Mühlebachstrasse 42, 8008 Zurich, Switzerland

3University of Constance, 78457 Constance, Germany

BMC Psychiatry 2009, 9:43doi:10.1186/1471-244X-9-43



There is an ongoing debate on whether consumers of child pornography pose a risk for hands-on sex offenses. Up until now, there have been very few studies which have analyzed the association between the consumption of child pornography and the subsequent perpetration of hands-on sex offenses. The aim of this study was to examine the recidivism rates for hands-on and hands-off sex offenses in a sample of child pornography users using a 6 year follow-up design.


The current study population consisted of 231 men, who were subsequently charged with consumption of illegal pornographic material after being detected by a special operation against Internet child pornography, conducted by the Swiss police in 2002. Criminal history, as well as recidivism, was assessed using the criminal records from 2008.


4.8% (n = 11) of the study sample had a prior conviction for a sexual and/or violent offense, 1% (n = 2) for a hands-on sex offense, involving child sexual abuse, 3.3%   (n = 8 ) for a hands-off sex offense and one for a nonsexual violent offense. When applying a broad definition of recidivism, which included ongoing investigations, charges and convictions, 3% (n = 7) of the study sample recidivated with a violent and/or sex offense, 3.9% (n = 9) with a hands-off sex offense and 0.8% (n = 2) with a hands-on sex offense.


Consuming child pornography alone is not a risk factor for committing hands-on sex offenses – at least not for those subjects who had never committed a hands-on sex offense. The majority of the investigated consumers had no previous convictions for hands-on sex offenses. For those offenders, the prognosis for hands-on sex offenses, as well as for recidivism with child pornography, is favorable.

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

© 2009 Endrass et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

American Academy of Child&Adolescent Psychiatry

Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse has been reported up to 80,000 times a year, but the number of unreported instances is far greater, because the children are afraid to tell anyone what has happened, and the legal procedure for validating an episode is difficult. The problem should be identified, the abuse stopped, and the child should receive professional help. The long-term emotional and psychological damage of sexual abuse can be devastating to the child.

Child sexual abuse can take place within the family, by a parent, step-parent, sibling or other relative; or outside the home, for example, by a friend, neighbor, child care person, teacher, or stranger. When sexual abuse has occurred, a child can develop a variety of distressing feelings, thoughts and behaviors.

No child is psychologically prepared to cope with repeated sexual stimulation. Even a two or three year old, who cannot know the sexual activity is wrong, will develop problems resulting from the inability to cope with the overstimulation.

The child of five or older who knows and cares for the abuser becomes trapped between affection or loyalty for the person, and the sense that the sexual activities are terribly wrong. If the child tries to break away from the sexual relationship, the abuser may threaten the child with violence or loss of love. When sexual abuse occurs within the family, the child may fear the anger, jealousy or shame of other family members, or be afraid the family will break up if the secret is told.

A child who is the victim of prolonged sexual abuse usually develops low self-esteem, a feeling of worthlessness and an abnormal or distorted view of sex. The child may become withdrawn and mistrustful of adults, and can become suicidal.

Some children who have been sexually abused have difficulty relating to others except on sexual terms. Some sexually abused children become child abusers or prostitutes, or have other serious problems when they reach adulthood.

Often there are no obvious external signs of child sexual abuse. Some signs can only be detected on physical exam by a physician.

Sexually abused children may also develop the following:

  • unusual interest in or avoidance of all things of a sexual nature
  • sleep problems or nightmares
  • depression or withdrawal from friends or family
  • seductiveness
  • statements that their bodies are dirty or damaged, or fear that there is something wrong with them in the genital area
  • refusal to go to school
  • delinquency/conduct problems
  • secretiveness
  • aspects of sexual molestation in drawings, games, fantasies
  • unusual aggressiveness, or
  • suicidal behavior

Child sexual abusers can make the child extremely fearful of telling, and only when a special effort has helped the child to feel safe, can the child talk freely. If a child says that he or she has been molested, parents should try to remain calm and reassure the child that what happened was not their fault. Parents should seek a medical examination and psychiatric consultation.

Parents can prevent or lessen the chance of sexual abuse by:

  • Telling children that if someone tries to touch your body and do things that make you feel funny, say NO to that person and tell me right away
  • Teaching children that respect does not mean blind obedience to adults and to authority, for example, don’t tell children to, Always do everything the teacher or baby-sitter tells you to do
  • Encouraging professional prevention programs in the local school system

Sexually abused children and their families need immediate professional evaluation and treatment. Child and adolescent psychiatrists can help abused children regain a sense of self-esteem, cope with feelings of guilt about the abuse, and begin the process of overcoming the trauma. Such treatment can help reduce the risk that the child will develop serious problems as an adult.

Excerpts from Your Child on Sexual Abuse

Many parents are unsure or squeamish about bringing up sexual matters, especially with their children. Yet, there are ways of laying the groundwork so that you can talk to your child without scaring her. Establish an open dialogue about sexual issues early on. If you introduce the subject of sex in a discussion of abuse, there is the danger that the idea of sex may become automatically linked in your child’s mind with danger and anxiety.

If you have fostered in your child a sense of ownership regarding her body, she will likely have an instinct about what is okay for her body and what is not. You build on her natural sense of ownerships of her body by letting her pick out her own clothes or wash herself in her own way. Also, avoid pushing her to kiss or hug other adults when she clearly does not want to.

Finally, when parents treat their children’s bodies with respect, children tent to demand that others treat their bodies in a similar manner. Children who are consistently hit, grabbed, or physically punished at home may feel that adults are entitled to misuse their bodies simply because they are bigger.

New study examines risk factors for child sexual offences CrossCurrents

Andrea Zoe Aster

What’s the tipping point? In the past decade, the Internet has become an anonymous smorgasbord of child pornography for those who would feed such proclivities. The crucial issue is whether consumption of child porn triggers actual sexual abuse – a debate that has heated up since Toronto software developer Michael Briere, who kidnapped, raped and murdered a 10-year-old girl two years ago, confessed to police that Internet images of pedophilia pushed him over the edge.

Groundbreaking research challenges Briere’s plea that there is a link between child-porn possession and sex crimes against children. “A history of viewing child porn is not itself a strong indicator of who is going to sexually abuse children,” says Dr. Michael Seto, a clinical psychologist with the Law and Mental Health Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and an associate professor in psychiatry and criminology at the University of Toronto. Seto’s study is researching yet-unmined police data that documents child-porn offences in an attempt to discover exactly what distinguishes individuals who view Internet child porn who go on to commit offences against children.

In a recent study, published in the April issue of Sexual Abuse, involving a sample of Ontario sex offenders, Seto and colleague Angela Eke found that of 201 child-porn offenders, 17 per cent committed some sort of crime again within a three-year period, and four per cent committed a sexual offence. The main point was that child-porn offenders with a prior criminal record were significantly more likely to reoffend in some way.

“The conclusion was that a past criminal history matters,” says Seto. “Does a person have a history of antisocial or criminal behaviour? That’s a much stronger predictor [than child-porn possession] of who would reoffend,” says Seto.

It’s somewhat comforting that in a climate of unreined access to Internet porn, mere possession is not the strongest predictor of future deviance. Indeed, the greater availability of child porn since the early 1990s does not correlate with an increase in sexual crimes with children, says Dr. Martin Lalumière, an associate professor in psychology at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, who researches sex crimes. “In fact, there has been a significant decrease in sex crimes in North America overall,” says Lalumière. “That’s not to suggest that child porn satisfies fantasy, thus making it less likely that people will act out – that hypothesis has not yet been supported by the data. But it is still good advice to make sure that those who have been convicted of child-porn possession stay away from it.”

So the question remains: What is different about the four percent of child-porn offenders in Seto and Eke’s study who do act out?

One thing is for certain: If there are commonalities among pedophiles, they currently elude police. Of the two-dozen arrests the Toronto Police Service has made this year, the demographics are all over the map. Suspects range in age from 18 to 82, an officer said in a recent article in Macleans. “They are people who live in housing projects and in Forest Hill mansions.”

Still, there is a more methodical approach, and Seto and Eke are hot on the trail with a new study, designed to produce a useful tool to evaluate the future threat a child-porn offender may pose, in an area where no such tool currently exists, says Eke, manager of the Research Unit for the Behavioural Sciences Section of the Ontario Provincial Police. Ultimately, it is hoped that the study’s findings will lead to development of a much-needed risk-assessment tool that will help to predict the shift from child-porn viewing to sex crimes against children.

The limitation of the initial study was that Seto and Eke had access only to limited data from Ontario’s sex offender registry, including name, address and criminal history, says Seto. Now, funded by the Ontario Mental Health Foundation, the team is pouring over close to 400 complete files of Ontario’s child-porn offenders, with the cooperation of the OPP and Toronto, Peel and York regional police.

“What’s unique about this research is that the police have searched the offenders’ homes and computers, so we have access to the porn content,” says Seto. “Are the offenders viewing images of 13- and 14-year-old girls? A lot of men might find those images attractive, but it’s a different story if there are images of three-year-olds and other deviant content like violence.”

By developing a checklist of risk factors, the team aims to determine whether child care workers, clinicians, police and the courts need to be worried about risk of sexual offences against children. “This information about risk can be helpful in prioritizing cases for investigation, making decisions about bail and sentencing and treatment,” says Seto.

It’s too early in the study to determine what factors increase the risk of future offences, says Seto. Risk-factor data collected includes such factors as age, previous criminal charges, employment history, living arrangements and, of course, the nature of the content in the offender’s porn collection. “We can’t say for sure, but the factors I think will turn out to matter most are a risk-taking lifestyle, substance abuse and an impulsive, antisocial character,” says Seto. The team expects to complete the study by next year.

“We’re trying to fill an existing gap,” says Seto. “The literature on sex offender risk-assessment has only grown over the last 10 years and we’re aiming to extend that into the realm of child-porn offenders.”

“If someone has already committed a sexual offence, we have tools to assess him,” says Eke. “But what about the child pornography offender who hasn’t committed a sexual assault? What’s his future risk? That’s what we’re aiming to find out.”

Paper on Child Pornography: 2nd World Congress on Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Academic paper on the definitions of child pornography, the harmful effects on children and society, the impact of technology and the internet, law enforcement operations, community responses, advice for parents, recommendations to educate and minimise harm.

Paper on Child Pornography: 2nd World Congress on Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

The NCH NetSmart Rules

To Help Parents Teach Their Children

  • Never tell anyone you meet on the Internet your home address, your telephone number or your school’s name, unless your parent or carer specifically gives you permission.
  • Never send anyone your picture, credit card or bank details, or anything else, without first checking with your parent or carer.
  • Never give your password to anyone, even a best friend.
  • Never arrange to meet anyone in person without first agreeing it with your parent or carer, and get them to come along to the first meeting, which should always be in a public place and you should always tell someone else where you are going and why.
  • Never hang around in a Chat Room or in a conference if someone says or writes something which makes you feel uncomfortable or worried, and remember, it is not your fault, so always report anything like that to your parent or carer.
  • Never respond to nasty, suggestive or rude emails or postings in Usenet Groups.
  • Never open attachments to emails that come from people or sources you do not already know and trust. Delete the attachments immediately. They could contain viruses or other programmes which could completely destroy all the information and software on your computer.
  • Always tell your parent or carer if you see bad language or distasteful pictures while you are online.
  • Always be yourself and do not pretend to be anyone or anything you are not.
  • Always remember that if a site is described as being for adults only, or as being only for people of a certain age, you should respect that and stay out if you do not meet their criteria.
  • Always remember, if someone makes you an offer that seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • If you ever find any material or activity on the Internet you believe is illegal, always report it.

Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Are some men predisposed to pedophilia?

Height may point to a biological basis for pedophilia, according to new research released by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). The study found that pedophilic males were shorter on average than males without a sexual attraction to children.

The study, published in Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, suggests that pedophiles may have been exposed to pre-birth conditions that affected their physical development. The researchers observed this height difference by analyzing the files of over 1,000 men who were assessed for pedophilia or other sexual disorders between 1995 and 2006 at the Kurt Freund Laboratory in Toronto, Canada.

A difference in average height is a trait found in other illnesses with biological links.  The average difference in height was two centimeters, which is similar to the shorter height associated with schizophrenia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Further research is necessary, but this finding re-enforces evidence that pedophilia has a biological cause, possibly related to brain development before birth.

“This research does not mean that pedophiles are not criminally responsible for their behavior,” said Dr. James Cantor, CAMH Psychologist and lead researcher on the study, “but the discovery of biological markers for pedophilia has important implications for future study and possibly treatment.”

This study adds to previous research from this team that found pedophiles have lower IQs, are three times more likely to be left-handed, failed school grades significantly more frequently, and suffered more head injuries as children.

The Kurt Freund Laboratory was established in 1968 and remains one of the world’s foremost centres for the research and diagnosis of pedophilia and other sexual disorders.

Demonstrating a Link between Child Pornography and Pedophilia

Justice statistics suggest that there is an increase in the child pornography investigations. Given this, clinicians may be asked more often to assess child pornography offenders. A particularly useful question during assessment is whether a child pornography offender is a pedophile.

CAMH’s Drs. Michael Seto, James Cantor and Ray Blanchard published a study in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, entitled Child Pornography Offenses Are a Valid Diagnostic Indicator of Pedophilia, which investigated whether child pornography offenses are a valid diagnostic indicator of pedophilia.

Using a sample of 685 male patients referred to CAMH between 1995 and 2004, the study showed that 61% of child pornography offenders, 35% of offenders with child victims, 13% of offenders with adult victims, and 22% of general sexology patients met diagnostic criteria for pedophilia by showing greater sexual arousal to stimuli depicting children than to stimuli depicting adults in the laboratory.

In other words, child pornography offenders were almost twice as likely of being identified as a pedophile, compared to the participants identified as offenders against children (sexual offenses against children 14 or young)

The results indicate that child pornography offending is a valid diagnostic indicator of pedophilia. This group was significantly more likely to show a pedophilic pattern of sexual arousal during testing compared to the other study groups.

The results suggest that child pornography offending might be a stronger indicator of pedophilia than is sexually offending against a child. In fact, child pornography offenders – regardless of whether they had a history of sexual offenses against children – were more likely than child offenders to show a pattern of sexual arousal consistent with the pattern of identified pedophiles.

Currently, clinicians rely on three potential sources of information when considering a diagnosis of pedophilia: self-report, a history of sexual behaviour involving children, and psychological assessment. While useful, these methods do have limitations. These results from Dr. Seto and colleagues may be a particularly helpful diagnostic tool in circumstances in which a person denies a sexual interest in prepubescent children, or has no documented history of sexual behaviour involving children.

Pedophilia may be the result of faulty brain wiring

MRIs link pedophilia to problems in brain development

(TORONTO) – Pedophilia might be the result of faulty connections in the brain, according to new research released by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). The study used MRIs and a sophisticated computer analysis technique to compare a group of pedophiles with a group of non-sexual criminals. The pedophiles had significantly less of a substance called “white matter.” which  is responsible for wiring the different parts of the brain together.

The study, published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, challenges the commonly held belief that pedophilia is brought on by childhood trauma or abuse. This finding is the strongest evidence yet that pedophilia is instead the result of a problem in brain development.

Previous research from this team has strongly hinted that the key to understanding pedophilia might be in how the brain develops. Pedophiles have lower IQs, are three times more likely to be left-handed, and even tend to be physically shorter than non-pedophiles.

“There is nothing in this research that says pedophiles shouldn’t be held criminally responsible for their actions,” said Dr. James Cantor, CAMH Psychologist and lead scientist of the study, “Not being able to choose your sexual interests doesn’t mean you can’t choose what you do.”

This discovery suggests that much more research attention should be paid to how the brain governs sexual interests. Such information could potentially yield strategies for preventing the development of pedophilia.

A total of 127 men participated in the study; approximately equal numbers of pedophiles and non-sexual offenders.

The Kurt Freund Laboratory at CAMH was established in 1968 and remains one of the world’s foremost centres for the research and diagnosis of pedophilia and other sexual disorders.

For more information or to arrange interviews please contact Michael Torres, Media Relations, CAMH at (416) 595-6015.-

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is one of the leading addiction and mental health organizations in North America and Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital. Integrating clinical care, scientific research, education, policy development and health promotion, CAMH transforms the lives of people impacted by mental health and addiction issues.

CAMH is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre, and is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.