Anti-stigma intervention for public attitudes toward minor-attracted persons in Australia: Building on Jara and Jeglic
Dr Nadine Mckillop1, Ms Stephanie Price1
1University of the Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast, Australia
It is a common misconception that all individuals who commit child sexual abuse offences are paedophiles, which is not the case. Indeed, many individuals with paedophilic interests or ‘Minor-Attracted Persons’ are able to refrain from engaging in child sexual abuse behaviours entirely. However, they may struggle with the internalisation of negative stereotypes and the suppression of their own sexual urges, which can increase the likelihood of future offending. It has been suggested that reducing the stigmatisation of Minor-Attracted Persons could enable and encourage these individuals to seek professional help, where required, thereby reducing the incidence of child sexual abuse. The present study contributes to this emerging area of research by building on a 2021 US study by Jara and Jeglic, who used an online survey to explore the impact of a psychoeducational text on public attitudes toward Minor-Attracted Persons, with a commercially recruited sample. Replicating and extending this work, the present study adopts a between- and within- groups design to explore the impact of three psychoeducational materials (psychoeducational text and video) across five samples, including a commercially recruited sample. Preliminary findings from this study will be presented, and recommendations for effective anti-stigma interventions to aid in early intervention and support of Minor-Attracted Persons discussed, along with directions for future research.
Dr Nadine McKillop is the Deputy Head of School (Research), Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Justice, and Co-Leader of the Sexual Violence Research and Prevention Unit at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Her international research profile demonstrates expertise in understanding and preventing the onset of sexual violence and abuse, and the assessment and treatment of youth and adult sexual offenders to reduce the extent and impacts of sexual violence and abuse in the community. She is the Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Sexual Aggression: An international, interdisciplinary forum for research, theory and practice.