Can you stop a paedophile before they’ve abused a child?

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Can you stop a paedophile before they’ve abused a child?

That’s the aim of a unique clinical trial in Sweden that aims to intervene in the lives of potential abusers. And it’s a trial that raises ethical and legal questions about whether societies can come up with therapies for the most dangerous offenders before they have broken the law.

The trial at the Karolinska Institute, one of the world’s leading medical universities, will recruit up to 60 potential sex offenders before they have broken the law.

The team, led by Dr Christoffer Rahm, will then investigate whether they can use a medicine to reduce the risk of the individual committing child abuse.

“Up until now most of the attention has been on how to deal with perpetrators [once detected]by the police or by the authorities, but by this stage children have already been harmed,” says Dr Rahm.

“I want to shift focus and explore methods of preventing child sex abuse from happening in the first place.”

Drug treatments for sex offenders, popularly known as chemical castration, aren’t new. There are a string of countries where men can have medication imposed upon them to crush their sex drive.

But nobody knows whether such treatments can be used to prevent abuse in the first place.

 

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