Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Child Molesters' Motivations May Include Repressed Sexuality

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Child Molesters' Motivations May Include Repressed Sexuality

Article excerpt

AT THE AAPL ANNUAL MEETING

CHICAGO -- Many factors motivate the actions of child molesters, including feelings of inadequacy, repressed sexuality, and childhood experiences, a small study showed.

In the study, the motivations of 18 child molesters receiving treatment were assessed. All subjects were adult men who had admitted to and been convicted of a hands-on sexual offense against a child. The offenders ranged in age from 24 to 73, with a mean age of 50. All molesters knew their victims, Natasha Knack reported at the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law annual meeting.

The goal of the qualitative research was to better identify the motivations behind offenders who sexually abuse children in order to more effectively treat them, said Ms. Knack, forensic research assistant at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre.

"One of the things that makes treating sex offenders more complicated is that they are a very diverse group," she said. "Even child molesters specifically are very heterogeneous, and they have different motivations for offending. It seems the general public assumes there's basically one motivation for committing these offenses, and that's sexual gratification. While that's something that came out in the research, that is definitely not the only motivation that we found. …

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