The Specialist Treatment Organisation for the Prevention of Sexual Offending, known as StopSO, is the country’s only nationwide agency offering the treatment option to non-offending paedophiles, a therapy which faces an “absolutely appalling” shortage.
Jack Dawson (not his real name) was a teenager when he realised he was attracted to young boys. His fantasies led to him to seriously self-harm.
He says he has never offended a child – directly or indirectly through child pornography. Between 1972 and 1975, he underwent intense NHS psychoanalytic psychotherapy for his paedophilia, which he says resulted in a complete cure.
According to Mr Dawson, there is a current shortage of treatment options for non-offending paedophiles, he adds he believes there should be a “major social effort” to help paedophiles before they act on their urges.
StopSO, a charity which helps prevent paedophiles from abusing, is facing a funding crisis
We are in a dire situation at the moment. I am determined we are not going to close
Juliet Grayson, StopSO founder
“It’s possible to treat very large numbers of people damaged by paedophilia. Not just so they’re prevented from offending, but to treat them so they can rid themselves of this wretched unhappiness, this sexual damage and live the kind of normal adult sexual lives which we all want,” he told RT.
At puberty, Mr Dawson did not develop sexual feelings for girls, instead, he became fixated on young boys. He says he “yearned to be normal”, but his “feelings towards women were of fear and disgust at their bodies”.
StopSO founder Juliet Grayson says her organisation is about child protection – ensuring “the attraction never becomes an action”, using similar methods which cured Mr Dawson.
She says working with perpetrators to reduce the amount of sexual abuse against children is more effective than “trying to constantly pick up the pieces after the abuse has happened”.
The charity's founder claims its running cost is a fraction of what it costs to imprison offenders
Ms Grayson, who is also a psychotherapist, said research shows most paedophiles know they are attracted to children by the time they are 20, but don’t act on their urges until they are 30.
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She said: “That means there is a 10-year window for society to make it safe enough for people to come forward and say, ‘I know I need some help to never act on my desires and I’m asking for that help.’”
Between June 2013 and October 2016, StopSO treated 425 offenders and demanding is said to be increasing for their services.
“If you think about the number of people who haven’t been sexually abused because of that 425 people [who came forward]. It’s possible that today someone isn’t sexually abused because of what StopSO therapists have done,” Said Ms Grayson.
According to the charity’s founder, 37 per cent of their clients have never come to the attention of the police.
To operate, StopSO requires £80,000 annually. Ms Grayson says it costs £65,000 to imprison someone for a year, therefore StopSO only has to stop two people from offending for it to pay for itself.
She hopes at some point the police or justice system will help to support StopSO financially, it is currently facing a “funding crisis”. The organisation could be forced to close its doors in early march if its appeals for donations is unsuccessful.
“We are in a dire situation at the moment. I am determined we are not going to close. I am desperately trying to find different ways so we can keep going,” Ms Grayson said.