The effects of paedophile attention on the child

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There are major flaws in the design of all the studies that we could find to review (over 40), the most frequent being the following three:

  • a) No comparison group - Personality, illness or psychiatric data mean little in themselves if comparison is not made with the equivalent figures for a group of children not assaulted and matched for initial characteristics, such as age, IQ, social class behavioural disturbance and so on. For example, it is not particularly informative to say that 13% of attacked children are 'preoccupied with sexual things' (Moses, 1932) unless we know what percentage of ordinary children are similarly preoccupied.
  • b) No proper attempt to measure adjustment before the attack occurred - When attacked children are followed up, especially as adults, or many years after the event, there can be a great temptation to attribute any abnormalities to the assault. For example, Bender and Paster (1941) found 40% of their sample of attacked children to have a conduct disorder. This cannot be attributed to the assault if it can be shown by proper retrospective inquiry that these same 40% were conduct disordered before the attack.
  • c) No proper measures or definitions of 'disorder' - If we are to assess scientifically the impact of sexual assault we need proper assessment instruments. It is no good just talking to the children concerned and assessing disturbance on various arbitrary criteria. For a start, if two studies use different, informal, ad hoc, measures then their results cannot be combined or compared. Furthermore, figures for disturbance obtained like this cannot be easily contrasted with the frequency of disturbance in the population at large. Few of these studies follow Burton (1968) in using recognized and validated questionnaires and few adopt a systematic psychiatric classification.


source: Article 'The effects of paedophile attention on the child' by Graham E. Powell & A. J. Chalkley (Institute of Psychiatry, University of London); From the book 'Perspectives on Paedophilia' edited by Brian Taylor (Lecturer in Sociology, University of Sussex); Batsford Academic and Educational Ltd; 1981



  • 1. No long lasting negative effects were observed. Only Moses (1932) concluded that early paedophile experience has a lasting negative effect. However, few people now would see anything very odd in masturbation or preoccupation with sex.
  • 2. Children that were disturbed after the event tended to be those who were disturbed before hand.
  • 3. In the case of male children assaulted by a male paedophile, no increase in the incidence of homosexuality was noted.
  • 4. The victims were not always passive in the experience. About one half of the children did not resist the incident or actively encouraged it.


source: Article 'The Effects of Paedophile Attention on the Child' by Graham E. Powell & A.J. Chalkley; From the book 'Perspectives on Paedophilia' by B. Taylor; 1981; Quote used in the book 'Childhood and Sexuality - A Radical Christian Approach' by John L. Randall; Dorrance Publishing Co., INC., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; 1992; Book Taylor from: 1981