Treating pedophiliac individuals requires coordinating the efforts of a variety of professionals so that services will not be duplicated, and focusing on the already-existent skills of various professionals so that the final integrated components of treatment help the patient stop his or her molestation of children. Four organizations can assist therapists in identifying professionals skilled in the various aspects of treatment for pedophiles. The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) is an international organization whose members evaluate and treat various paraphilias. ATSA holds an annual meeting focusing on training, education, and research into the assessment and treatment of paraphilias and compulsive sexual behaviors. ATSA also publishes a journal as well as guidelines for assessing and treating paraphiliac individuals (Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers 1993). The American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (AAPL) is a national organization that holds educational and training programs that in part deal with assessing and treating pedophiles. The Safer Society Foundation and Press serves as a clearinghouse for information on assessing and treating paraphiliac individuals. It maintains a nationwide register of individuals in the field with program descriptions and treatments available on a state-by-state basis (Knopp et al. 1992). Finally, the National Adolescent Perpetrator Network, a national organization of those working primarily with juvenile sex offenders, holds national meetings. It has published an excellent review of the current status of the assessment and treatment of adolescent perpetrators (National Adolescent Perpetrator Network 1993).
Pedophilia is a public health problem of major proportions. In recent years, mental health professionals have focused attention on providing services for sexually victimized children. We now need to expand our efforts to prevent these crimes so that there will be no victims. Implementation of assessment and treatment of pedophiles can stop sex crimes against children. The tools to accomplish this important task are already available. We now need to unify our efforts to accomplish the task of ending child molestation.
Revision date: June 18, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD