Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Short and Sharp - Reformation of Child Molesters

This post is prompted by this story (and the comment section found within). For those of you who are too lazy to click on the link, the article basically tells of a man who was convicted of indecently assaulting a 16 year old boy in 2005, and now has won through VCAT a working with children certificate because VCAT believe he no longer poses a danger to children.

The thing that most interests me is the response to this situation; at the time of writing this, not a single one of the 32 comments on the article was even willing to accept the possibility that this man has rehabilitated and is not a threat; every comment either explicitly or implicitly says that a person who molests a child is incapable of rehabilitating.

Whether or not this case is an example of reformation of a child molester (I personally think it is off the limited information available), it seems clear that the majority of individuals believe that it is impossible for a person who has sexually assaulted a child to be rehabilitated. I’m not quite sure whether it is that they think rehabilitation is actually impossible or that the cost of wrongly assessing a person as rehabilitated is too high to ever bother attempting it (a kind of ‘think of the children’ argument).

What do my intelligent audience think? Is it possible for a child molester to ever be rehabilitated? If so, why? If not, why not?


  1. I would say that while he may be able to be rehabilitated, it's an unnecessary risk. Surely someone with a clean record could fill his place?

  2. We'll probably never know, because someone who molests one child when they're in their 20s or so can never, for the rest of their life, admit to it safely.  Someone who claims to be rehabilitated and then "slips" can never safely admit to that either.

  3. Is that a general principle for all convictions or just sex offences?