Dr Sarah Goode estimates 250,000 men in the UK could have sexual feelings for children – but believes prevention is a better option than prison
A contributor to Channel 4 documentary The Paedophile Next Doorhas told how men who might be inclined to abuse children need support before they offend.
Dr Sarah Goode, an expert on the subject of paedophilia, estimates 250,000 men in the UK could have sexual feelings for children – but believes prevention is a better option than prison.
Appearing on This Morning, Dr Goode told Phillip Schofield and Amanda Holden that those men who had sexual feelings towards children but were determined not to act on them could be helped through support groups which work in a similar way to addiction therapy.
Noting that paedophilia cannot be ‘switched off’, Dr Goode said: “It is a little bit like working with an addiction.
“So it is thinking about coping strategies, it is giving that person support and challenging their behaviour so it is really keeping them in a group of people – so it is like ongoing therapy.”
She added: “I certainly believe in prison for offenders, absolutely.
“We’ve got an epidemic of child sexual abuse at the moment and nobody knows how to respond and how to keep children safer.
“My suggestion is we need to go a little bit further upstream than we’ve been doing and be working with people before they offend.”
Ian McFadyen, who was repeatedly raped by his teacher in the 1970s and who comes face-to-face with a self-confessed paedophiles in the documentary, said he understood criticism of such an approach as being “soft”.
“What I want to make clear is I don’t want to normalise paedophilia,” he said.
“I am no advocate for paedophiles. I hold very strong opinions about people who abuse children so it was not an easy decision to be involved in this process.
“But what has become apparent is all of our child protection procedures are reactive, they’re after the event has occurred – the abuse has occurred to the children.
“Very little proactive work is being done, to stop children from being hurt, to eliminate the abuse.”