Adshead, Gwen, & Mezey Gillian; Ethical issues in the psychotherapeutic treatment of paedophiles: Whose side are you on?; The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry; 4(2), 361-368
Although there has been some published literature addressing ethical issues in the chemical treatment of sex offenders (Bowden, 1991 ; Greenland, 1988) there has been relatively little discussion about the ethics of offering psychotherapeutic treatments of various kinds. This article addresses several ethical issues that arise in the context of the community treatment of sex offenders against children, based on the authors’ experience of working in time-limited groups with child sex abusers (Mezey et al., 1991a). We would suggest that the ethical issues that arise in the treatment of paedophiles are different from, and additional to, those encountered in the treatment of other types of offender. We address these issues under a number of sub-headings.

As is common with ethical issues, more questions are raised than can be easily answered. This does not make discussion fruitless; rather it raises the quality of the debate. We argue that important ethical decisions are being made all the time in relation to the treatment of sex offenders. There is a real danger, however, that, like the original offences, such issues will be minimized, distorted and denied. We would suggest that workers need to achieve a balance of interests between the offender and the victim. To support one is not to harm the other.