Protecting children from sexual abuse by pedophiles, from the Harvard Mental Health Letter

Parents can take several steps to protect children from becoming victims of sexual abuse by pedophiles, reports the July issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter.

Few disorders are as repulsive to the public as pedophilia, defined as sexual attraction to children who have not yet reached puberty. Although researchers once thought that it was possible to cure pedophilia, the consensus now is that this type of sexual behavior is unlikely to change.

That has led to an emphasis on trying to prevent sexual abuse by pedophiles, mainly by educating and empowering children, parents, and caregivers. Dr. Michael Miller, editor in chief of the Harvard Mental Health Letter, recommends that parents start by educating their children about appropriate and inappropriate forms of physical contact, and encouraging them to talk about any interactions with adults that make them uncomfortable.

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