Preventing child sexual abuse with a new guidebook for adolescents

A new guidebook has been published for professionals on how to prevent child sexual abuse by helping adolescents who are sexually attracted to children. The guidebook is a product of a research collaboration on child sexual abuse prevention between MSc, PhD-student Mikkel Rask Pedersen and Save the Children Denmark and Save the Children Finland.  

Date 2022-10-03 Author Finnish Safer Internet Centre Section awareness Topic grooming, love, relationships, sexuality (online), potentially harmful content, sexual harassment Audience media specialist, parents and carers, teachers, educators and professionals
Decorative. Graphic design of the handbook by the Finnish Save the Children

The guidebook consists of three parts, each with a distinctive focus: 

  1. What does it mean to be an adolescent sexually attracted to children? Identifying a problem and the necessary help. 
  2. How can I help raise awareness among adolescents who are sexually attracted to children to encourage seeking for help? Combatting the negative effects of a stigma.
  3. What information can I give to help adolescents sexually attracted to children? Answers to important questions aimed directly at adolescents. 

Sexual interest in children is not only a controversial and taboo subject for many, but also complex and challenging to define. When we attempt to understand adolescents with sexual attraction to children, we may find that this only adds to this difficulty and complexity. Despite common belief, many people who experience sexual attraction to children manage to live lives without any abuse. Yet, when adolescents start to experience this, the fear of committing abuse or the fear of social rejection make many avoid seeking help. Therefore, these adolescents will end up facing this struggle alone.  

However, if we find ways to better inform adolescents on the help that is available, we may find that we can help them while also protecting children from child sexual abuse. The very central matter of working with adolescents sexually attracted to children to prevent abuse is always two-sided, and it is crucial that we find ways to help those adolescents in their own right, while also protecting the children at risk of being victims of child sexual abuse if we fail this task. 

The guidebook “Preventing child sexual abuse: support for adolescents sexually attracted to children – an introductory guidebook” is now available in Finnish and in English

Find more information about the work of the Finnish Safer Internet Centre, including their awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services – or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.   

Related news