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Church has "key role to play" in helping paedophiles

Thu 07 Apr 2016
By Antony Bushfield

The Church has a key role to play in helping paedophiles, an expert has told Premier as a new trial offering medication to people admitting the condition in Sweden is launched.

Those not convicted of any crime are being recruited for a new research project aiming to show that men at risk of sexually abusing children can be identified and treated before they target a victim.

A clinical trial looking at the effectiveness of a "chemical castration" therapy that cuts levels of the male hormone testosterone is already under way in Sweden.

Donald Findlater, a Christian and the Director of research at the child protection charity The Lucy Faithfull Foundation told Premier it was a good idea.

He said there was a helpline for men in the UK who are attracted to children: "They call us in confidence because they're terrified what would happen if other people got to know of their sexual thoughts.

"It would be excellent to be able to steer them towards appropriate medication where that's indicated."

He added: "Criminal justice alone cannot be the only solution. We have to have better solutions, we have to have more prevention in place.

"The Church has a key critical role it can play by talking about this issue in the cold light of day and actually arguing for a range of resources".

Dr Christoffer Rahm, from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, who heads the "Priotab" project, said: "One in 10 boys and one in 20 girls is sexually abused during childhood. This issue is hard to deal with but we must, because it affects all of us.

"Up until now most of the attention has been on how to deal with perpetrators while they're protected by the police or by the authorities, but by this stage children have already been harmed.

"With this research project, I want to shift focus and explore methods of preventing child sexual abuse from happening in the first place."

Dr Rahm said a "handful" of men with paedophilic tendencies - none of whom had been convicted of any offence - had already been recruited by his team through a Swedish help line for people who fear their sexual appetites are out of control.

They were taking part in a study testing the effectiveness of degarelix, a prostate cancer drug that blocks signals from the brain that switch on production of testosterone. The male hormone is known to fuel the disease.

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