Paedophiles can be cured, says psychology lecturer

Aminuddin Ibrahim LastarSHAH ALAM: Psychologists are always positive that paedophiles still have hope of being cured on their own volition and awareness, according to a lecturer.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah Children and Family Psychology Lecturer Aminuddin Ibrahim Lastar, however, said the will and awareness must be followed up with effective treatment to eradicate the tendency for sexual desire via specific psychotherapic methods and medication.

He said willingness on the part of paedophiles to change was an important element to ensure the treatment given was effective.

This was because, he said, the illness involved internal stimulus such as the sufferer’s erotic fantasies, motivation from his surroundings and his self-control.

Paedophilia, he stressed, was part of a sexual disorder which is not normal, namely related to extreme erotic sexual fantasy stimulus towards children to fulfil their sexual desires.

Commenting further on the classification of paedophilia, Aminuddin said the age factor of the perpetrator and his age difference with the victim must be a major yardstick, and normally paedophiles are adult males.

“In certain cases, paedophilic crimes can take place among 16-year-old youths involving children who are five years younger than him.

“Paedophiles can be aroused and are very attracted to children of around eight to 10 years old regardless of gender,” he said when interviewed by Bernama.

Prior to this, the country was jolted by the issue of paedophilia when freelance British photographer Richard Huckle was sentenced to jail for life by a court in London for sexually molesting 23 children in Malaysia and babies and children in Cambodia in the span of a decade.

According to Aminuddin, among the causes of paedophilia are sexual experience at an extremely young age, either intentionally or otherwise, which gives a deep erotic impact, and children who were sexually abused and individuals with extreme sexual fantasies.

On symptoms, he said, it was hard to identify because the disease cannot be seen, unlike a person having fever.

However, he said paedophiles could be detected via their behaviour, which is different towards children compared with normal individuals such as having good interpersonal skills and easily bonding with children.

Aminuddin added that paedophiles too could be often seen alone in areas which had many children, such as children’s playgrounds.

In this regard, he said, a positive parenting style based on transparency, trust and concern, instilled in the family institution, is very crucial to check sexual abuse against children.

“Children must be taught about parts of the body that can and cannot be touched and the suitable types of touches on them other than being taught techniques to save themselves from strangers by shouting and running away,” he said.

Aminuddin was also of the opinion that the best way to check paedophilia was by tightening laws for the protection of children.

In addition, he added, tight screening must be conducted when employing workers who would be directly involved with children.

“Society’s awareness and concern on the danger which besets children may be able to help to check paedophilia from becoming widespread,” he added.