Treatment ‘can help potential abusers’

CAMPAIGNERS have called for accessible treatment places for paedophiles after new research revealed the success of therapy programmes.

Opposition politicians, children’s welfare groups and the Stop if Now campaign have said help should be available for everybody showing signs of deviant behaviour.

They said without treatment potential abusers will act on their impulses.

Chairman of the fledgling Stop it Now campaign, Gearóid Manning, said policy makers could not ignore research proving the success of therapy policy makers.

“What we can do is have somewhere for people to come and talk without being afraid that the whole arm of the law is going to come down on them and if needs be get help before it is too late,” he said.

The campaign is looking to set up a confidential helpline for potential abusers and Mr Manning asked all political party leaders for support.

Fine Gael social affairs spokesman David Stanton said treatment options should play a more prominent role in dealing with child sexual abuse.

He said in tandem with the criminal justice system treatment and support should be easier to access.

“Therapy can be a powerful tool for people, and if they get help before they commit abuse you are saving so much heartache for victims and families,” he said.

Yesterday, the Irish Examiner revealed details on the first research project profiling Irish paedophiles.

It examined the background of 193 clients of the Dublin-based Granada Institute during the past decade and the results of therapy. It said there are initial signs which should alert people to dangerous self-serving tendencies. This includes inappropriate thoughts and an inability to deal with feelings of loneliness.

Following two years of therapy clients said theyenjoyed healthier emotional relationships.

“Improvements werereported in their ability to resolve difficulties within their relationship without feelings of powerlessness,rejection, anger and resentment impeding communication,” the research said.

However, there is a one-year wait for assessment at the institute and it is worried rising costs prevent many from getting the help they need.

The research team said the Government had to takeresponsibility for ensuring treatment was available.

“Additional services and funding for existing services that specifically assess and treat men who have sexually abused children need to be provided,” it said.

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