The debate about how to address and to deal with sex offenders of children used to go up and down the same way for some time. And along this way there have been only some unnecessary populist manifestations. But during the summer of 2000 the residents of the Paulgrove estate in Portsmouth have turned into the hounds of people whom they supposed to be sex offenders or who, to their mind, were bearing some paedophiles thoughts or intentions. This wave of looking for sex offenders was so huge, that people have even attacked a local paediatrician, whom they thought to be a criminal.
This campaign of ‘naming and shaming’ was run by the News of the World. Sexual crime in the legislation There can hardly be found any agreement as for what is to be considered and qualified as sexual crime. US law used to make no distinction between sexual and non-sexual crimes. According to De Waal (1990), this list covered a number of human behaviours. In one of the amended documents there are about fourty – three different sex offences pointed out. But at the same time these offences are hardly similar to sex crimes apart from connection to sex.
In this list there are mixed several different types of offences which are considered to be sexual. So, these are actually sexual acts as rape, they are combined with acts which were motivated by sex but were not characterized by the presence of sex itself, and the third group of crimes is only indirectly sex-related. “Some acts are illegal by virtue of act; some – because of the lack of consent; some acts are illegal by nature of the identity of the victim; in some age it is vital variable, others depend merely on location”.
And this is the reason for which there are only a few advanced explanations of the sex crimes, and this is also the reason why only some definitions try to explain a broad range of different sexual behaviours. The main attempts to explain different sexual behaviours towards children fell into the three main schools: the sociological, the biological and the psychological. The sociological school explains everything from the point of view of relations in the society and their power.
It also makes stress on the gender relations which are traditional in different societies. The biological theory relates to Darwin and the influence of hormones on human behaviour, and the third psychological school touches the subject of sexual offences from the point of view of psychological disorders of different people. ”. (De Waal 1990) Sexual abusers and main steps to fight with them Caroll (1998) writes, that ‘it is no secret that children are sexually abused in the US and many other countries.
In most cases they become mentally ill or unable to build their own relationship with the opposite sex representatives. And preventive measures are taken only by parents, who don’t let their children go to school alone, and in the recent years British children have almost prepared playing in the yards and go into the street without adults’. (Caroll 1998) But it is not enough and the war with paedophilia appeared to be very complicated. Unfortunately a lot of abusers are teachers, children doctors or their own parents.
Everybody read the well-known novel by famous author “Tell me your dreams” where the young woman became mentally ill after being sexually abused by her own father and the age of 6-8. She started killing men who wanted to make love with her. In the novel we can see a happy end when the problem of the woman was revealed; the society understood it and accepted her after many crimes she committed. But this is a thought-out situation and in the real life the troubles such people have in their life are much more serious.
Serious measure should be taken in two directions: 1. Stopping the paedophilia. 2. Providing the sufferers with proper treatment. According to the publications of Caroll, (1998), the USA government has expressed full support of the campaign of fighting with pedophiles. But it wasn’t in rush to take strong measures, because opinions of professionals, having huge experience in working with paedophiles, and public opinions didn’t coincide. But still the preparation of the new bill of sexual offences began already in 2000.
The psychological problem of paedophilia One of the statements suggested that there should be conducted more research of the abuse and the influence of the public education on this situation; there should be carried out a study of the most common characteristics of paedophiles, and there should also be researched the long-term impact after the abuse happens. In the tradition of denial that has consistently damned any clarion call for national action on this issue, The Daily Mail’s headline was ‘The survey that makes child abusers of us all’. (Caroll, 1998)
There appeared panics about sexual crimes, and this was a classic example of panics: first people were denying the existence of such problem, they also didn’t accept the scope of the problem, then after the facts became more convincing, the fear started to grow, as a response the police became harsher towards the suspects in such crimes, and finally the response of justice became more moderate and considered. But still an effective policy against sexual offenders is to be developed. On the other end of the behavioural spectrum are those, who are able to make terrible things with children (Caroll 1998).
Besides, paedophiles are also different depending on realizing their sexual attraction. There are those, who don’t take their sexual fantasies as something good and are willing to get rid of them. But there are also those, who justify themselves and want to develop and carry out such fantasies. And according to Hail, this very part is the most dangerous. (By the way, many articles are devoted to describing the possible ways of recognizing a paedophile, which, to my mind, is not necessary and may even be dangerous).
Psychiatrists constantly remind us, that not all individuals with sexual propensity towards paedophilia are potential criminals. There exist aggressive and non-aggressive ones; there are also ‘inadequate paedophiles’, who suffer from psychic diseases. And those who are able to kill a child are real psychopaths, but such anomalies are relatively rare. (Caroll, 1998) One more leading expert in paedophilia is Dr. Ray Wire, who has developed the method of recognizing and identification of paedophiles.
He warns that ‘computer technologies, Internet, videos, wide spreading of pornography, act as stimulators for paedophiles’. Caroll, 1998) He is also concerned about the growing number of families with single parent which broadens possibilities for men-paedophiles, who try to seem being interested in mother, while their real interest lies in the child. Dr. Wire also notes that he has never met a paedophile who had a happy childhood, and that 25-50% of the sentenced pedophiles has been the victims of sexual abuse in their childhood themselves. (Ames, 1990). To the mind of doctors-psychiatrists, those who don’t suffer from an aggressive form of paedophilia can be helped.
But there can hardly be remembered a case when a paedophile have got rid of his fantasies once and forever. And at the same time, fantasies may stay constant, but behaviour may change. A special treatment may help such people to control their impulses; during the periods of acute condition they should not be afraid of addressing a doctor. (Ames, 1990). There are clinics in the USA, where pedophiles are treated. But there is a growing pressure on psychiatrists, because they are demanded to share their considerations and facts with police and social services.
It is understood that in such conditions anonymous treatment becomes impossible. Besides, there is also a compulsory form of medical treatment for those, who really need it, and are included into the police register. But there is insufficient money set for this aim. And it is also impossible to attract charitable finances for this. About 500 pedophiles wait for their turn to receive the medical treatment. (Ames, 1990). The importance of creating the corresponding laws This panics had also positive consequences, as it has discovered weak lines in the system of criminal justice.
It appeared that any integral policy towards sex offenders was absent and there also appeared a necessity of coordinating the system of criminal justice. Dalrymple (2004) wrote in his article that despite the fact that the probation service and all prisons function under one Home Office, in practice they function entirely independently from each other and each body tries to implement its own policy (Ames, 1990). The main point here is registration. It is claimed that the benefit of the society coming with registration statutes will facilitate investigating sexual crimes.
It establishes a legal ground for detaining known sex offenders who are found in suspicious circumstances, and tends to deter some registered sex offenders from committing new sexual crimes because they know they can be easily traced’ (Ames, 1990). It should be also noted that the civil rights of such sex offenders are influenced in the minimal way, because registration takes minimum efforts, it won’t break people’s privacy and won’t ever publicly stigmatize those, who are in register, preventing them from normal living.
The society of the parents of children having suffered from abuse, which was created at the initiative of Payne’s family, have been demanding police for several years not only to make the names of pedophiles public, meaning the names which are noted in police registers, but they also suppose that police should let parents know about any paedophiles living around them in the neighbourhood, especially those who have gone through imprisonment for the sexual abuse of children and are still under the police watch.
Psychiatrists, who have dealt with direct study and treatment of paedophiles for many years, have their own opinion on this. One of the most famous specialists Dr. Robert Hail, from the Portman Clinics of London, was explaining to the press, that ‘there are the two poles, among which different behavioural models of paedophiles are situated. On the one pole are the men who would stand near a playground for hours but would never touch a child. Howitt (1998) also states, that children are the most likely to be assaulted by someone they know – a friend, a relative, or even a parent.
According to the official statistics, 60 percent of those, who abuse children, are related to them. And assaults by strangers are no more than five percent of the general number of such crimes. Those, who contradict with the necessity of registration, may give several strong arguments, which can hardly be denied, though may be contradictory at the same time. The Dalrymple (2004) writes that the opponents of registration are sure this is first of all ‘offensive to civil libertarians.
First of all, the behaviour of such personalities is compulsive and pathological, and they are not frightened by the prospect of being caught and imprisoned. Second, they imagine the child not as a victim, but as a willing participant in mutual pleasure. This represents the paedophile’s distorted thinking. Third, the cases of reoffending are very common among such criminals. Different views on paedophilia and the law directed to stop it In the modern world there are still those who protect paedophiles, how strange this may seem.
They assert that paedophilia has existed for ages, and it is nothing more than just a reaction at sexual attractiveness of children. ‘In 2000, using the constitutional freedom in the US, an organization named ‘man-boy love” was placing articles in the Internet, in which there was glorified erotic love between a man and a boy, and their roots were noted as coming from the ancient Greece. ’ (Dalrymple, 2004). But even if offenders are sentenced to imprisonment, what happens to them there? Therapy is not given to everyone and most of offenders get no help in changing their behaviour.
But according to the recent researches, medical and psychological treatment of paedophiles may reduce the risk of reoffending. The aim of the therapy is to make people understand they have got distorted attitudes, and to understand the possible consequences of such attitudes, and to correct them as well. The importance of correct treatment of the sufferers Another important issue is the correct treatment of children and adults in terms of sex abuse. Children should be treated in terms of the possible consequences of their behaviour, and adults are to be treated not to commit further crimes.
It is very important to remember, that there exists the following point of view, expressed by Wilson: ‘Passing sentence for an indefinite period, making therapy freely available, and intervening with disturbed children and young people, would go far to show that calls for a Sarah’s Law are irrelevant, and that naming and shaming sex offenders is not only dangerous but fruitless. ‘ (Dalrymple, 2004). According to this point of view, all that will be given to people with intention for abuse is a chance to express their frustration, and for mass media to gain profits from selling more issues.
But it does not protect a child in any way. The sexual crime has put demands to the judicial system, with which it is unable to comply. The system has been characterized by the mismanagement, because its practical activity has long been ruled by prejudices of separate people. Every individual was working in different way, and this difference was really drastic, which was seen through ones creating new effective schemes of fighting with sex offenders, and others seen in brutal and punitive reaction. Bullough, 1990).
It is very difficult to deal with paedophiles, as they consider their behaviour normal, and they also suppose that we put unfair limits to the way they behave. And this very fact about their behaviour makes them particularly dangerous. So, in order to protect children from sexual abuse, it is necessary to create the Child Sexual Abuse Register. The characteristics of people, who are considered to have behaviour disorders, depend on the kind of their relationships.
The first type is presented by the so-called ‘loners’, who attack children from time to time, and at times they are known to have claimed about 200-300 small victims. These abusers are in no way connected with a child. (Caroll 1998) The other type is absolutely different. These are ‘blood relatives’ of the child. They are rarely violent, and are usually concentrated on one victim. They continue to commit sexual offence towards a child during a long period of time, telling them it is a kind of education or a game. (Caroll 1998)
Between these two extremes there is the third type of sexual offender, who is not a member of the family, and not an alien person, but who communicates with the child very often and may have several victims at the same time. Once children become victims of abuse they tend to suffer further abuse in their later life at the hands of the same person or a perpetrator. Children, who are abused in a family situation are often more vulnerable to the advances of paedophiles when they reach school age and adolescence. This is due to low levels of self-esteem and self-confidence.
The paedophile identifies and targets these people by offering some form of comfort and attention. (Briere, 1989). Experienced psychiatrists say that the terms ‘paedophilia’ is now misused to the great extent. The thing is that paedophilia is a kind of sexual attraction towards pre-pubescent children. In fact, paedophilia is more of attraction than an activity. Opponents of registration suppose that paedophiles make up a tiny percent of those, who are arrested and convinced of sexual crimes; and an attempt to marginalize those who may be considered as paedophiles, may drive them to despair and thus make them reoffend.
The fact that paedophiles are examples of exiles, that is, they don’t have a constant place to live, deprives them of the right to become harmless members of the society, and thus to be identified and controlled. At the same time, there is still a great part of the crimes, which are committed at home by relatives towards their children, and thus registering their address will make no sense, for this won’t stop the abuse. Conclusion
It also happens that governments take different laws in hurry, as a response to the society’s outrage, in order to make the appearance that the system is effective and replies to the moods of the society. An intention to drive sex offenders through treatment is rather a hope than an experience, and this treatment should also be based on facts, in order to bring real results of reducing the number of sex crimes in the society.
According to Briere (1989), the panic has exposed the limited nature of our knowledge of the causes of sexual offending or the characteristics of most offenders. It is axiomatic that we know next to nothing about the causes of all crimes and the motivation of any offender. However, the paucity of good-quality research on sexual crime and well-tested treatment methods for sexual offenders has made the development of policy difficult even for the motivated and able criminal justice practitioners.
Dealing with the problems of paedophiles must present something more than just populism. It should go far to research the subject of the civil rights between children and parents. There should also be provided sexual education at early age, examination of the market place for the subject of sexualized infants, and sentencing those who enjoy abuse of the very young children. Literature and mass media has forced the problem of child sex abuse to the top of political agenda. There are arguments about how paedophiles should be treated.
On the one hand, their punishment should be as harsh as possible, without any liberation of right, on the other hand, the breach of the civil right of those who have not been convicted of anything, may lead to unexpected consequences. (Dalrymple, 2004) The new age is characterised by new technologies, which work for sex offenders. But with time these technologies become a trap for them. There is always found some antidote, and the society stands in front of dilemma, is the appropriate laws an antidote for sexual crimes towards children.