Preventing pedophiles from interacting with children should be a priority, as curing the disorder is difficult, a doctor said after a man last month was charged with sexually abusing children.
Shen Cheng-nan (沈政男), a doctor in the department of psychiatry at the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s hospital in Nantou County’s Caotun Township (草屯), was last week commenting about a retired associate professor surnamed Chen (陳), who late last month was charged with alleged breaches of the Child and Youth Sexual Exploitation Prevention Act (兒童級少年性剝削防治條例).
Prosecutors called for Chen to be sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in prison, as he was last year handed a prison sentence of seven years and eight months by the Tainan District Court for similar crimes.
To be considered a pedophile, a person must have strong fantasies or urges of having sex with children, or have taken action on these urges, Shen said, adding that a diagnosis cannot be made without an examination.
There is no agreed-upon cause of pedophilia, although some research has indicated that pedophiles might have been sexually abused during their formative years, Shen said.
Such individuals might be introverted or shy with low self-esteem and show an interest in only being around children, he said.
Although some individuals like this marry, they might retain their urges, which they often keep secret from their spouses, he added.
It is difficult to cure pedophilia, as drugs, behavioral correction and psychiatric treatment yield less than ideal results, Shen said.
Trying to prevent pedophiles from coming into contact with children is far more effective, especially with the Internet and social media, where pedophiles can disguise their identity, Shen said.
Although children might be protective of their privacy, parents must take the time to talk with them about using the Internet to help them avoid becoming a victim, Shen said.
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