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Sophie Muir

Doctor of Clinical Psychology, (Psychology)
Study Completed: 2019
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
More than "Potential Offenders": Understanding Adults who are Sexually Attracted to Children who have not Offended

Pedophilia has largely been studied and addressed in the context of child sex offending. Little is known about the group of adults who are sexually attracted to children who have not offended. Ms Muir's research explored the lived experiences of this group through interviews with nine non-offending minor-attracted men and surveys of 85 minor-attracted persons. She examined what it is like to live with an attraction to children, how such individuals manage their attraction, and what support needs they have. Participants experienced their attractions as complex and did not necessarily view themselves to be at risk of offending. They explained that psychological characteristics, behavioural strategies and peer resources enabled them to manage their attraction. They expressed a need for psychological support that treated them as human beings who could be prosocial and self-regulated. Ms Muir's findings challenge dominant understandings of pedophilia and how it is approached in clinical practice.

Dr Bev Haarhoff
Dr Veronica Hopner