Surviving Paedophilia

It discusses a man’s paedophilic past and his complete recovery from paedophilia with the intention of inspiring many people. It describes how he was drawn to children and could not help admiring them, but not adults. Last but not least, he completely overcame his paedophilia (at the Portman Facility, the only psychoanalytic NHS clinic at the time that provided that curative treatment), and he will always be grateful for the freedom that the NHS treatment afforded him.

2010 The internet and sexuality; A literature review.

Internet sexuality is a “hot topic” in therapeutic circles, and a study of the relevant literature serves as the foundation for this sound research and hypotheses. It can also help clinicians understand and incorporate theory and fact into their interventions. Internet sexuality, which can include masturbation and other activities like pornography, is thought to be addictive and can occasionally result in problems with intimacy and interpersonal relationships. Asides the earlier stated, this paper tends to review early literature from 1983 to 2002 about the internet and sexual behavior.

Paedophile OCD or POCD

Article in the Guardian about this.
You mentally undress your friends, Tony Blair, the lollipop lady. Your thoughts are X-rated. You wonder if you’re a paedophile – or just losing your mind. A sufferer describes the nightmare – and dark comedy – of living with pure OCD

Living with Pedophilia OCD

Fear of being a Paedophile

Should I share my notes

As a therapist you may be asked to share your client notes.

These are some thoughts as a guideline.

Legally, you don’t have to share notes unless the court subpoenas them.
Discuss this with your supervisor
Get the client’s permission in writing
Bear in mind that clients can be naive about sharing notes, and not think through who will gain access to them.
Remember that the notes will be in the public domain, so that the defence and prosecution team would have access to all the notes.
Consider going through the notes with client and blank anything out that isn’t relevant. Agree what is going to be used/said. (Check the legality of this)
Consider writing a summary for the court.
Don’t let the police re-write your summary without you signing it.  
Ask for notes to be collected and signed for.
Add a note to each page stating that these are therapeutic notes and not verbatim, they are your own understanding/ interpretation/ memory etc.   
Talk to your governing body
Your insurers will also give legal advice

Guidance on writing a character reference

Guidance on Character Witness statements

This is intended to assist those who have never written a character witness statement before. Please don’t feel as though you have to follow this format to a tee, it is important that character statements don’t appear to be exactly the same. The following are some helpful pointers:

  1. Write your reference as a formal letter. That is:
    a. Address the letter to the court: “Dear Sir/Madam” for the Magistrates or “Your Honour” for the Crown Court.
    b. Sign off the letter “yours faithfully” and then your full name.
    c. Date the letter.
    d. Sign the letter.
    e. Include your full address.
    f. Include your date of birth
  2. Always state what your relationship is with the person, including details of how well you know the person and for how long.
  3. If you want, you can state what you do for a living, but please try not to speak too much about yourself.
  4. State that you are aware of the allegations and what the allegations are.
  5. If you believe the person to be of good character say so and give specific character traits and examples that you have seen.
  6. Try to make the letter personal and not bland, for example if you can remember any helpful anecdotes, please include these. However, try not to be over familiar or too informal.
    Remember criminal proceedings are to be taken seriously.
  7. If the person has pleaded guilty or will be pleading guilty:
    a. Never suggest a suitable punishment for the offence. This is a matter for the court.
    b. If the person’s life has changed for the better (that is they have reformed their ways), please say so.
  8. If the person has pleaded or will plead not guilty:
    a. Don’t suggest that the person is not guilty/would never commit such offences.
    b. Don’t say hope that they should be found not guilty/acquitted.
    c. Don’t question the character of the complainants/whether their evidence is reliable etc. All of these are matters for the court.
    d. If you were shocked to hear of the allegations you can state this.
  9. Should you be happy to attend court, please state this at the bottom of the letter. Please note that it might be necessary to put your letter into official witness statement format.
    Therefore, please type your statement in word format in the first instance so it can be copy and pasted if necessary (and eventually signed in the new format). Should it be necessary to reformat it, this will be done in due course.
    If you are called to give evidence – please bear in mind the following: Whilst the experience is a little daunting, it is likely you will only be on the stand (the place where you will give evidence) for about 5 to 10 minutes. However, there may well be a long wait to get to that point, so bring something to read/do. The Magistrates/jury will expect that you will be a little nervous, please don’t worry if you are nervous.
  10. When you come into the stand, the first thing you will have to do is to take an oath. This will be taken either on the Bible (or another religious book) or you can give a solemn affirmation (non-religious oath to tell the truth).
  11. The advocate for the defence will ask you questions first. He will not be able to ask you leading questions, that is a question which suggests an answer. Therefore when you give evidence you will have to tell your story, in other words try not to give one-word answers. However, please try not to learn a script! A useful way of thinking about things,
    is to think of some headlines for your evidence. Then (a) explain, (b) develop and (c) and give examples of the point you are making.
  12. When you speak, please remember to do the following:
    a. If something is wrong, be emphatic in your denial. Otherwise people are unlikely to believe you.
    b. Take your time when you give evidence.
    c. Keep your voice up and direct your answers to the jury.
    d. Listen to the question and answer the question. If you don’t follow this basic rule – you might say something that you shouldn’t!
    e. Remember court is a formal setting but at the same time, you can be personal to a degree.
  13. Please remember to NOT do the following if you give evidence:
    a. Unless you are on trial – don’t say “he’s not guilty of the offence” – this is a matter for the court.
    b. Don’t get into an argument with the prosecutor.
    c. Don’t make personal remarks about the prosecutor or anyone else.
    d. If the prosecutor makes a mistake when asking a question – don’t be arrogant, gently correct if they are in wrong only if necessary.
    e. Don’t pontificate – that is, give straight forward answers and don’t give your own theories on general matters that you might be asked questions about. For example, if you are asked about child pornography, rather than speculating as to why certain people might indulge in this, just give a firm short answer with your views.
    f. Don’t excessively criticise people that the court might have sympathy with e.g. the family of a deceased person. People should be treated with respect, even if they have been in the wrong.
    g. Don’t be drawn into commenting on things you have no knowledge of. Stick to what you know.
    h. Don’t mark remarks about people’s appearance/other superficial matters unless it is 100% relevant.
  14. After the defence advocate has asked you questions, the prosecutor will be allowed to ask you questions. It is unlikely that s/he will ask you that many, and there is even a chance s/he may not ask you any. Again, simply answer the questions and try not to get into an argument with the prosecutor.
  15. Please dress appropriately; imagine that you are dressing for a funeral. In this way, you will be treating the court with respect.
  16. You can claim you expenses of getting to court from the court by asking at the office for a form to complete. You may need to submit parking or train tickets.
  17. Thank you so much for your help. In assisting you are proving the true value of a friend.

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was set up in the wake of some serious high profile instances of non-recent child sexual abuse and because the government had concerns that some organisations were failing and were continuing to fail to protect children from sexual abuse. They are examining what went wrong and why, and will challenge those institutions responsible. The evidence gathered will inform recommendations to help protect children in the future. They have a research programme which will fill gaps in the knowledge about child sexual abuse.

They run ‘The Truth Project’ which offers the opportunity for victims and survivors to share their experience and be respectfully heard and acknowledged.  By doing so, they will help us to better understand the long term impact of abuse.

My Experience of Applying to Modify My SOPO Term

In 2011 I was convicted of sexual offences.  I was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment (suspended) and I was ordered to complete a 3 year community order.

At the same time that I was being sentenced, the Police requested that I be made subject to a SOPO (Sexual Offences Prevention Order) which contained various restrictions upon my activities.  The judge agreed to the order, and announced that it would stand for an indefinite period.

Since I had been sentenced to 6 months imprisonment (suspended), then according to the Sexual Offences Act 2003, Section 82[i], I would be placed on notification requirements (commonly known as the sex offenders’ register) for 7 years.

However, the indefinite period of the SOPO would have the effect of extending the notification requirements to an indefinite period as well!
Unfortunately it was only later, long after sentencing had concluded, that I came to understand the consequences of the indefinite period of the SOPO.

A 2008 ruling by Mr. Justice Forbes in the court of appeal (Regina vs Paul Churchill Hammond, items 10, 11 & 12)[ii] conclude that a sexual offences prevention order must run in parallel to the notification requirements.
Therefore, any SOPO which extends the notification requirements beyond the mandate of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 should be challenged by the defendant’s solicitor or, if not, then made the subject of an appeal.

I only know all this in retrospect.  At the time that it was happening, I had a lot of things to deal with in my life and I didn’t have the psychological bandwidth to concern myself with the SOPO.  So I ended up being subject to it, along with the indefinite period, and my notification period therefore became indefinite as well.

I am not the first person, nor the last, to find himself in this position.

In 2017 I decided to apply for a change to the term of the SOPO.  The opportunity for appeal had long since expired, but it is still possible to apply to the court for an amendment or a discharge of the order.

An application for amendment can be made at any time, but an application for discharge of the order can only be made with the permission of the Chief Constable unless it has been in place for more than five years.  If the SOPO has been in place for longer than five years then you do not have to seek permission from the Police to apply for discharge of the order.

There are some legal implications for making an application to discharge an order vs making an application to amend an order.  An application to discharge involves much wider considerations and is therefore less likely to succeed than an application to make an amendment to the order.

In my case I only wanted to change the SOPO such that its term ran parallel to my notification requirements, so I made an application for amendment.  To do this, I contacted the court via email and explained what I wanted to do.  I then had a short email exchange with the court in which they asked me for some details.  After this I received a letter inviting me to attend court for a hearing a few weeks later.

One thing to be aware of is that the court will immediately make contact with the Police on this matter.  Even if your SOPO has been in place for more than five years so that Police permission is not required, the court will still take into consideration the opinions of the Police (typically your PPU officer) and it goes without saying that the opinion of the Police will carry some weight.

In my case I decided to discuss my intensions with my PPU officer prior to making the application, and I found that I had the support of the Police in this matter.  Because of this, I felt confident to represent myself at court rather than pay for a solicitor.

If I had been in the position of suffering a poor relationship with the Police then I would probably have taken counsel from a professional solicitor, since they can argue the case on points of law (see previous reference to precedent).

One thing that really worried me about my court hearing was the possibility of press interest.  Such coverage would have the potential to undo a lot of the good work I had done to turn my life around in the 6 years since my conviction.

In practice I found that the press took zero interest in my hearing.  The hearing is not considered a criminal matter, and therefore it is highly unlikely to attract anybody’s interest.  My court hearing was empty, aside from the court staff that were necessary to run it.

At the court hearing I of course dressed appropriately, and I was polite to all the court staff at all times.  I went prepared to justify my application, so I had armed myself with examples of how I had turned my life around and why the indefinite term of the SOPO negatively affected my prospects as a rehabilitated person going forwards.

In practice I found that I didn’t need to make much of these arguments because of the support I had from the Police.  The judge read out the correspondence from the Police and stated that this satisfied him enough to agree with my application.  In fact, he went further and immediately discharged the order, even though I had only made application for amendment.

I would strongly advise anyone who is in a similar position with an indefinite SOPO to consider making an application to the court for amendment to the term.  If you are further able to gain support from the Police in the matter, then I would advise that you represent yourself in the hearing.




Although it goes against our gut reaction, we can protect children better by helping paedophiles feel safe enough to ask for therapeutic help

This brilliant film from James Cantor says it so clearly: here is a quote: “Inside professional circles the biggest questions have been about how we regulate our professional ethics.  This really is where the correct thing to do, the thing that society needs us to do, the thing that our clients need us to do is coming against people’s gut emotional reaction.  The minute someone says Doc I have a problem I think I am a paedophile, is the minute someone in the public thinks Oh you have a paedophile, shoot ‘em, hang ‘em, castrate them, throw ‘em out….  Even though the science says, This guy didn’t have a choice and our ethics need to follow from that knowledge! The emotions that the public has, the automatic unbridled reflexive unquestioned anger is just getting in the way. Never mind getting in the way of us actually helping this person, but getting in the way of helping society protect itself from child abuse. If we have a guy saying, Doc, I think I am a paedophile I want help. And all we have done is structure a system so that they can’t come in and get help – this is insane!  This is not making it better for society.  It is just making some [member of the public] feel better about themselves for expressing their righteous anger.  If we think for just 2 seconds it is just the reverse of what we want to do.  We need to make it easier for someone to get talking therapy…and … should be covered by the government. [Currently] all we have done is ban people from therapy when they are asking for help. When giving them help is going to reduce risk to children. It is insane! ” 

He Is A Paedophile, But That Does Not Make Him A Child Molester

Published in the Huffington Post on 18/09/2016 22:12


Let me start by being really clear, that all child sexual abuse needs to be stopped. That includes everything: from inappropriate sexual conversations with children, sexual behaviour in the presence of a child through to looking at child abuse images and contact offences with children. Part of my life’s work is to work to reduce sexual abuse in all its forms, and I am very aware of the horrific consequences of child sexual abuse. However, many people never think about the world of the non-offending paedophile, and that is what I would invite you to consider.

The clinical definition of a paedophile is someone who has a primary or exclusiveattraction to pre-pubescent children (under 11 years old). The media, the police, and hence the public are very sloppy in their usage of the term paedophile. They incorrectly label someone who has looked at child abuse images – but whose primary attraction is to adults – as a paedophile. A person who has committed a contact offence with a child will usually be branded as a paedophile, even when they are happily married and sexually active with, and more attracted to, an adult than a child – which again is an inaccurate description from a clinical perspective. A paedophile is someone who is more attracted to children than adults, or whose sexual attraction is solely towards children.

In my therapeutic work with clients who are paedophiles I have found a variety of different causes. Many paedophiles have trauma in their history, often around the age of eight or nine for boys, and seven or eight for girls. Often they are re-enacting some aspect of their own history in some way. Working on and healing their childhood trauma through therapy seems to completely change their attitude to, and sexual desire for, children, and this appears to be a long-lasting result. But there are others, whose sexual attraction to children seems to be hard wired. Dr James Cantor of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada, has been using MRI scans to explore the brains of paedophiles. He says, “Paedophilia is a sexual orientation. Paedophilia is something that we are essentially born with, does not appear to change over time and it is as core to our being as any other sexual orientation is.” In these cases, therapy will offer the person techniques and strategies to learn how to handle their sexual desires, so they remain non-offendingpaedophiles, but for them there is no cure.


This brings me to a very important distinction, that not all paedophiles are child molesters. Just because there is an attraction, doesn’t mean this has to be followed up with an action. I am sure there are some readers who have a happily married work colleague or friend, who they find sexually attractive, but would never dream on acting on that attraction. So it is for non-offending paedophiles. They recognise their sexual interest in children, but they spend a life-time managing their behaviour, and never break the law in any way. They never touch a child, or act sexually in the presence of a child, or look at child abuse images online. Of course there are also many paedophiles and other people who commit horrendous crimes including sexually abusing children, I am not wanting to discount that, but for the moment I am thinking about those who are living law-abiding lives.

Two StopSO client that I spoke to have allowed me to report their stories, provided I change their names. Let’s call one Chris. He was concerned about his sexual thoughts towards children. He was not sure where to go for help. Now in his twenties, he had been living with these thoughts for some ten years, since he was a teenager. He had never looked at illegal images of children. But he was starting to think about this more and more and wanted help to ensure that he didn’t act out. He went to see his GP. His GP was open with Chris that he had a duty to report him.

The GP did not know where to get help for Chris, but he Googled ‘sex offender help UK,’ and he found StopSO: The Specialist Treatment Organisation for the Prevention of Sexual Offending. Chris was referred for therapy, but he could not afford to pay for himself. Luckily, StopSO had been given a small grant to subsidise therapy for those who couldn’t afford to pay for themselves.

Meanwhile, the GP completed a safeguarding referral to the local authority. The local authority held a strategy meeting which was attended by the GP, social services, local safeguarding children’s board and the police. The strategy meeting took the decision that there were insufficient grounds for any further investigation or action to be carried out. This was because Chris didn’t have any contact with children and there was no evidence that any offence had been committed.

Chris told me, “I know of an individual, much younger than me, who sought help for his worrying thoughts about children. He also went to his GP, but it was a different local authority, and he ended up being formally investigated by the police because of it. He had an horrific experience. In the end they found that he was completely innocent. He had no illegal images on his computer or phone. He had no children in his immediate family or living near to him. The authorities eventually decided that he was telling the truth, and their investigations confirmed that there was no evidence that a crime had been committed, nor did it seem likely that a crime would be committed.”

Chris told me, “If I had known his story beforehand I would never have gone to see my GP at all. And, if I had known there was somewhere to get help, where I would have been treated confidentially, I would have sought support much, much sooner. I waited until I was suicidal to ask the GP for help. Finding StopSO was, for me, what made the difference at the end of the day. I got access to a therapist who knew what they were talking about, and it has enabled me to remain law-abiding. I never want to harm a child, despite my desires. I have strategies now to manage myself, and talking about it has made all the difference.”

Chris went on, “Once you accept the idea that there are people who want to seek help to stop themselves harming children – which can only be a good thing – logically society should surely make that process of seeking help as easy as possible. Otherwise people aren’t going to do it. We want more people to recognise, and admit, that there is a potential problem and seek therapy at the earliest opportunity. It both minimises the risk of any harm occurring, and also, early intervention is obviously easier and may be more effective.” Chris found the therapy so helpful that he called Radio 4 P.M. programme, to talk about his experience(click here to listen to that interview). Chris does not feel at risk of acting out inappropriately any more. He also knows he can come back to StopSO if he ever needs to.

Another client, James recognised that he had a sexual interest in children by the time he was twenty. “I couldn’t talk to my mum and dad. I was lucky, I was able to tell one of my friends, and I think talking to him really helped. Finding a therapist who was open to my thoughts and knew how to help me control my urges has changed my life. It is a very difficult thing to discuss with your parents or your friends, but I think more needs to be done to help people like me, not to feel odd and excluded. I have found that when I cannot talk about it, I am more likely to be drawn to act out. When I can talk about it, it is like a pressure valve gets released, and I feel like I can manage myself. Virped a website for virtuous paedophiles has really helped me not to act out sexually, and at times I rang theStop It Now helpline too. Provided I didn’t tell them my name, they could talk to me and help me confidentially. But one-to-one therapy is the thing that has really made the difference to me. I hope that society will gradually accept that being a paedophile, for some people, is an involuntary condition. But being a child abuser is a deliberate choice..”

It is clear that both Chris and James are paedophiles who are separating the attraction from the action, both determined to remain completely law abiding. If we can let people with this sexual preference know that there is sympathetic help out there to stop them from committing a sexual offence, surely that should be a vital part of our child protection strategy in the UK.

Also published in the blog on

Posted September 16 2016

Written by Juliet Grayson, Chair of StopSO: The Specialist Treatment Organisation for the Prevention of Sexual Offending.

Word count: 1516
Last edited by Juliet Grayson on 16th September 2016 at 3:04 pm