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#176781 - 08/29/07 09:34 AM UK and Australian Prevention Efforts
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5773
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
Sympathy - and a hotline - for the devil
August 25, 2007

A pedophile's cry for help can be a tough call to answer, write Julia May and David Braithwaite.

'My wife found some extremely inappropriate pictures I had taken of my daughter's sleeping friend. Some of these pictures showed her unclothed and were sexually explicit in nature; this is why my wife's first reaction was to turn them in to the police. It was her courageous act that saved my life."

Words from a recovering sex abuser that would make most people squirm with discomfort. Pedophilia is still taboo. It is a physical and psychological realm that most people can neither empathise with nor want to understand.

In Britain, land of the hard-hitting headline, pedophiles are described in the huge-selling tabloids as perverts, monsters or sex fiends - their photos splashed across front pages in a ghoulish name-and-shame game. Some parts of the Australian media take a similarly demonising approach.

The climate of fear and stigmatism has been stoked in the age of the internet, where there is greater opportunity for online predators: those who abuse children to make images, those who view the images, and those who "groom" children with the aim of abusing them.

Experts agree that protection, policing, and, increasingly, prevention, are crucial in the fight against online sex abuse. International police operations such as the Virtual Global Taskforce are becoming more sophisticated. The taskforce is a collaboration between Interpol and law enforcement agencies in Australia, Britain, Canada, and the US against online child abuse. Its British chairman, Jim Gamble, says: "I've been in charge of counter-terrorism in Northern Ireland but I've never been involved in a more complex area than this.

"But predators reading your article need to understand that we are committed to tracking them down. I've been in law enforcement 26 years and you'll not find more enthusiasm for finding people than in this area. If you're a predator we will ruthlessly and clinically track you down. We'll hold you to account and throw the book at you."

But another, radical program for preventing child abuse is gaining momentum in Britain and has expanded, albeit less successfully, to Australia. It provides confidential support services for people who are sexually attracted to children or have committed abuse, including downloading images.

Last month this program, Stop it Now!, received a boost when a British advisory group for wealthy donors and trusts, New Philanthropy Capital, consulted about 70 experts on child abuse and concluded that prevention must play a bigger role. Its report recommended Stop it Now! as the most effective campaign in this area.

A co-author of the report, Tris Lumley, says: "There are a number of people with disturbing sexual thoughts about children who are motivated to do something about it, but there's no support for them. If they turn up to a police station there's no support because they haven't committed a crime. Stop it Now! is pretty unique; it's definitely a leader in its field."

The program began in the US in 1992 and expanded to Britain five years ago. It is run by the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, a charity that treats convicted sex offenders, and provides confidential online and phone counselling and treatment for past and potential sex offenders and their families.

Most of the foundation's 2.5 million annual ($6.1 million) funding comes from the British Government, and it has received 8,000 calls since the program's inception - 70 per cent from men concerned about their own thoughts or behaviour towards children, and 30 per cent from worried family members, usually female partners. Contrast the campaign's Australian operation, which also began in 2002 but remains fledgling owing to a lack of funding and public acceptance.

The Queensland-based co-ordinator of Stop it Now! in Australia, Kathy Prentice, says: "We've been lobbying various Queensland ministers since 2002. They're basically saying it sounds like an interesting program, but they're not willing to actually commit any money. Obviously there are challenges to think about providing funding for people who have harmed others [or are at likely to]. But unless funding is provided for this type of secondary prevention program, then it's really like putting an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff."

In Britain, as in Australia, the figures are startling: the British Internet Watch Foundation has estimated that the number of images of child rape online has quadrupled since 2004. Every day the telecommunications giant BT blocks 35,000 attempted downloads of child sex images, and each year up to 175,000 children are abused in Britain. Offenders can be anywhere and most do not fit the sinister "man in a trench coat" stereotype pushed by the tabloids.

Organisers and supporters of treatment services emphasise that they are not apologists for sex offenders. Donald Findlater, the research and development director at the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, says: "We are all about preventing child sex abuse. If we invest all our efforts in investigating past offences we'll never get past the future problems. We're trying to prevent future sexual harm."

Stop it Now! has the support of children's charities in Britain including the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Childline and Barnado's, whose priorities are the young victims of abuse and their families. Zoe Hilton, a policy adviser at the society, says: "Before people end up in the criminal justice system there's very little in the way of assessment or treatment and I think that's a shame. This isn't about being tolerant; this behaviour is unacceptable. It's distorted thinking, it's dangerous and it needs to stop But we know most abusers won't be caught and go through the criminal system so it's things like Stop it Now! that are the most realistic."

Findlater sees a role for treatment programs to bridge the often long gap between when users of online child sex images are identified by police and when they are arrested or convicted.

He points to investigations like Operation Ore, a global police operation that Gamble, of the global taskforce, describes as a "watershed" in international child pornography policing. It began in 1999 and identified 7000 British users. About 2500 have been convicted, but it is believed that up to 2000 have not been investigated.

Another international crackdown in February, led by Austrian police, identified 2300 suspects globally. Of these, 130 were Australian users whose internet protocol addresses - which identify computers - were passed to the Australian Federal Police, who say the investigation is continuing.

It was Operation Auxin, a global child pornography blitz in 2005, that acted as a "wake-up" call for authorities, revealing more than 700 suspects in Australia, and leading to more than 200 arrests and more than 2200 charges.

The director of the Australian High Tech Crime Centre, Kevin Zuccato, says Auxin's size and complexity heralded the rise of a new policing environment - one where a single criminal image could be in the hands of thousands of online predators in a flash. He says the federal police's online child sex exploitation team has laid more than 180 charges against 65 people and referred 750 suspects to state and territory police since its inception in 2005.

"With this type of crime we have to be extra vigilant to do investigations in the most effective way possible - the ramifications of getting it wrong are disastrous," Zuccato says. "It is not like getting arrested for a break and enter the stigma has a devastating effect on them personally, their families, their work, the lot."

The notion that downloading and viewing child pornography is a victimless crime was an "absolute falsehood", he says. "Every image you see on the internet of a child being abused is a child being raped and hurt forever."

Police in Australia are using an education campaign warning parents and children against frivolous use of the internet. "One poor decision to post an image may sit with them for the rest of their lives," Zuccato says.

In Britain, Findlater says police can be helped by treatment service providers to make contact with suspects. "I want all those 7000 people [identified in Operation Ore], for example, to know that we know what they were doing. I want them, their wives to know and for us to intervene in their lives to ensure that the children are protected, and for the men to get treatment. But we have waited while the criminal system rolls on, since 1999, and what are all those other men doing?"

But the controversial catch to Stop it Now! is its adherence to confidentiality, even for callers who admit committing abuse but have not been detected.

Findlater says: "It's the 100 behind the one that got arrested that need to be able to come forward and get help. Why would they put themselves on a plate?"

Jim Gamble supports the campaign as part of an overall policing strategy but is vehemently opposed to anonymity for people who have committed abuse, including those who view or download images.

"When we talk about diverting people to treatment programs when they have these thoughts [but have not yet acted on them], it's not about putting your arm around them, it's about grabbing them by the throat and making them face the reality of these thoughts," he says.

"By diverting them we stop children being abused. But if they are an individual who has harmed a child, I'm not interested in a talking shop for them to talk about how that makes them feel, I want them arrested."

stopitnow.com, virtualglobaltaskforce.com


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#176803 - 08/29/07 10:35 AM Re: UK and Australian Prevention Efforts *DELETED* [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
ttoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/19/07
Posts: 977
Post deleted by ttoon



Edited by ttoon (08/29/07 12:53 PM)
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#176943 - 08/29/07 03:56 PM Re: UK and Australian Prevention Efforts *DELETED* [Re: ttoon]
ttoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/19/07
Posts: 977
Post deleted by ttoon

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checkin out for a few weeks... whistle
02/07/09

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#177057 - 08/29/07 10:04 PM Re: UK and Australian Prevention Efforts [Re: ttoon]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5773
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
Dave:
With all due respect for your experiences and opinion, let me clarify a couple of points.

StopItNow! is about prevention. Prevention means stopping someone from abusing, not cheering him on. If a person has not abused but is thinking about doing it, who can he talk to? If someone has not yet abused, should he be arrested? Should he be talked out of it? Should he be referred to a therapist who might be able to keep him from hurting a child?

I've been working in the sexual abuse field for nearly 30 years. During that time, I've evaluated and/or treated close to 3000 juvenile and adult abusers. I also work with male survivors and was president of MaleSurvivor for two years, and on the board for about ten years. A disclaimer: I recently was asked to join the board of directors of StopItNow! and they value my experience in working with both populations.

Every abuser I've ever worked with (with the possible exceptions of a couple of very impulsive or severely mentally ill or retarded offenders) have thought about abusing before they actually did. That's actually good news. The more time you have to think about whether to do something or not, the more time you have to stop.

The issue of confidentiality does not mean what they say to the hotline staff person is immune from reporting. Same goes for me. If a person tells me he has abused his child or stepchild, I will know who he is talking about. I have to report this and I tell every client I see the first time that I have to report any reportable case of child abuse or any threat directed towards a specific person ("I'm so angry, I could just kill someone" doesn't count as a threat against a specific person.)

StopItNow! staff will tell a caller that if they give information about a specific, identifyable avused child and they know the identity of the caller, they are also mandated reporters. So, the caller who is anonymous or somehow identifies himself but does not identify the child, can remain anonymous.

The confidential part of that means if you were to call and say that you were having feelings to abuse a child, as long as you have not actually done so (or with a child who is not reportable, say a kid down the street that you abused 10 yrs ago would not be reportable in most jurisdictions), the conversation is confidential. What the hotline staff would do is try to get the potential abuser to a qualified therapist where more information might come out and if the identifyable child is in potential danger, the therapist would try to get the potential abuser to provide info to protect the kid.

Prevention is considered the best bang for the buck. It's cheaper than victim or offender treatment. Primary prevention is stopping abuse before it happens. Child safety prevention programs in schools are one example. (I'm also on the board of Child Assault Prevention, the largest kid-focused prevention program in the country and probably the world since they are in 14 countries besides the US).

Secondary prevention is about helping those abused from deteriorating from the effects of the abuse, whether it is becoming a substance abuser, cutter, sexual abuser, or whatever bad might happen to a victim. While only a small percentage of those abused go on to become abusers, it does happen and in my work with survivors, some struggle with feelings or thoughts to offend (as we have seen in this forum).

Tertiary prevention is helping those who have abused from abusing again. Why do I work with perpetrators? It really ain't about the money. It is because I want to help prevent them from offending again. The vast majority of those I work with do not abuse again. That is confirmed by low re-arrest rates and confirmed by use of polygraph.

You raise many points that I could address but it is getting late. As far as most offenders being psychopaths, that is completely untrue. While I've worked with a few mentally ill offenders, most are actually pretty normal in their everyday lives. You couldn't pick them out of a crowd.

Let me say something about insurance. I can understand that you might be reluctant to use some sort of victimization diagnosis for insurance. The survivors I work with who use insurance generally are given a diagnosis of depression, anxiety, or PTSD. Their sexual history is none of the insurance company's business. I've never had these diagnoses given short term approval for only 6 sessions. Several guys I see have been coming for two or three years and no problem with the insurance.

If youth agencies would disqualify you from working there because you have a history of victimization... My question is, why bother telling them? That's none of their business.

I worked with a survivor some years ago who was an elementary school teacher. The idea of abusing a child was abhorrent to him. However, when he realized he was favoring a particular child who was very needy, he felt a need to nurture the child but his feelings were accompanied by sexual arousal. He resigned his position and it wasn't until a few years later while in therapy that he was able to work again as a teacher. I didn't see him as a potential perp but suggested that his conflict should probably get resolved before he put himself in a potential high risk situation. You don't have to avoid working with kids as long as you are aware of your feelings and thoughts.

I urge you to keep an open mind. Check out the StopItNow website, look at the literature and realize that CAP, Now, and MS are all working for prevention of sexual abuse.

Ken


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#177078 - 08/29/07 11:42 PM Re: UK and Australian Prevention Efforts *DELETED* [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
ttoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/19/07
Posts: 977
Post deleted by ttoon

_________________________
checkin out for a few weeks... whistle
02/07/09

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#177258 - 08/30/07 06:52 PM Re: UK and Australian Prevention Efforts [Re: ttoon]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5773
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
Dave:
I spent a fair amount of time trying to respond to your previous post and I have to say that I find your brief response above to be somewhat disappointing.

If you had said something like "This is my belief/opinion and there is nothing that anyone can say to change it", I wouldn't have bothered responding to you. It's like a fundamentalist saying that the Bible states that "the world was created 6700 years ago and dinosaurs and humans existed at the same time and that settles it". No amount of science or evidence would change the person's opinion.

I shared with you my professional experience which was pretty much dismissed as "But thank you for your opinion". My opinion? Jeez, how many survivors or abusers have you talked to? I must have picked up something over the past 30 years.

Ken


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#177262 - 08/30/07 07:11 PM Re: UK and Australian Prevention Efforts [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
BJK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/02/07
Posts: 1526
Ken,

This is an issue I am torn on, and it all boils down to wanting to protect every child I possibly can.

I can see how allowing confidentiality might protect children from potential or actual perps who recover because they had the resources to get help. I can also see how locking them up regardless of the consequences might protect children simply because of the fact that such an astounding number of perps abuse again and again.

And there is also that part of me that is completely biased in the fact that I spent ten years of my life looking for resources to battle my own inner demons before I finally found something tangible on this site.

At this point, I think I'm leaning towards the thinking that this is a necessary evil. If there is a possibility that a perp might recover to never again hurt another child, I think we have to take the chance knowing that without this hotline, we wouldn't have had a chance anyway.

I am fully aware that perps are capable of the most outrageous lies and manipulative behavior in order to accomplish their desires, but I guess that even though I feel like every perp should be punished, my desire to protect children is even stronger. That's my primary goal.

Thanks for your post. If you think this hotline can help to protect children, then I have to support it.

Bryan

_________________________
Revenge is nothing more than another way of perpetuating abuse.

What the world needs now
Is some new words of wisdom
Like la la la la la la la la la.
-David Lowery

Having a friend who will keep a secret for you is worthless compared to a friend who won't keep a secret from you.

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#177328 - 08/31/07 12:18 AM Re: UK and Australian Prevention Efforts *DELETED* [Re: BJK]
ttoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/19/07
Posts: 977
Post deleted by ttoon

_________________________
checkin out for a few weeks... whistle
02/07/09

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#177532 - 08/31/07 10:38 PM Re: UK and Australian Prevention Efforts [Re: ttoon]
theatrekid Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/03/07
Posts: 702
Loc: oregon
i consider myself just a kid who hasnt experienced much of the world but in my limmited knowledge i think if some one knows they are a pedophile and steps forward before acting on on their urges and seeks help is willing to fully take responcablilty and get help i think that person is a hero.

I think their should be lots of programs to help such people but i also think that if you act on those urges you should be sent to prison with a life sentence and no chance of getting out. thats my thought anyways.


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#177573 - 09/01/07 06:41 AM Re: UK and Australian Prevention Efforts [Re: theatrekid]
BJK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/02/07
Posts: 1526
Originally Posted By: theatrekid
i consider myself just a kid who hasnt experienced much of the world


I've heard you say this before, and I think I have to say that you underestimate yourself.

_________________________
Revenge is nothing more than another way of perpetuating abuse.

What the world needs now
Is some new words of wisdom
Like la la la la la la la la la.
-David Lowery

Having a friend who will keep a secret for you is worthless compared to a friend who won't keep a secret from you.

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