Rethinking responsibility in offenders with acquired paedophilia: Punishment or treatment?
Gilbert, F and Focquaert, F, Rethinking responsibility in offenders with acquired paedophilia: Punishment or treatment?, International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 38 pp. 51-60. ISSN 0160-2527 (2015) [Refereed Article]
This article reviews the current neurobiological literature on the aetiology of developmental and acquired
paedophilia and examineswhat the consequences could be in terms of responsibility and treatment for the latter.
Addressing the question of responsibility and punishment of offenders with acquired paedophilia from a neurobiological
perspective is controversial. Consequently it is essential to avoid hasty conclusions based strictly on
neurobiological abnormality justifications. This study establishes a distinction between developmental and acquired
paedophilia. The article investigates whether offenders who fulfil the diagnosis of acquired paedophilia
should be held fully responsible, particularly in cases where the offender's conduct appears to result from
volitionally controlled behaviour that is seemingly incompatible with a neurological cause.Moreover, the article
explores howresponsibility can be compromisedwhen offenders with acquired paedophilia have (partially) preserved
moral knowledge despite their sexual disorder. The article then examines the option of offering mandatory
treatment as an alternative to imprisonment for offenders with acquired paedophilia. Furthermore, the
article addresses the ethical issues related to offering any form of quasi-coercive treatment as a condition of release.
This study concludes that decisions to fully or partially excuse an individual who fulfil the diagnosis of acquired
paedophilia should take all relevant information into account, both neurobiological and other
environmental evidence, and should proceed on a careful case by case analysis before sentencing or offering
Neurotechnologies, treatment, responsibility, acquired pedophilia, Chemical castration, Treatment effectiveness