1st Edition

Sexual Aggression Against Children
Pedophiles’ and Abusers' Development, Dynamics, Treatability, and the Law

ISBN 9781138924178
Published February 17, 2016 by Routledge
262 Pages

USD $56.95

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Book Description

In Sexual Aggression Against Children: Pedophiles’ and Abusers' Development, Dynamics, Treatability, and the Law, Drs. Blackman and Dring use multiple psychoanalytic principles to answer, “Why do people sexually abuse children?” and “Why are most abusers male”?  They address the legal and mental health professions’ minimization of the horrific nature of child sexual abuse, explain how to assess pedophiles’ treatability, and discuss cases of adolescent and adult predators. Also, developmental analysis of sexual predation is integrated with a review of judicial decisions regarding civil commitment and punishment of abusers. The authors suggest how courts, evaluators, and legislatures can preserve constitutional rights of sexual offenders while prioritizing protection of children. 

Table of Contents

Introduction About the Authors  I: Section A: What is the pathology of child sexual predators? 1. Some Words of Caution: Denial, Minimization, Projection, Hope, and the Wish to Help 2. What is Sexual Abuse? 3. Is Pedophilia an Illness or a Crime? 4. Why Males—and Can they be Treated? An Application of Modern Psychoanalytic Development Theory to Sexually Predatory Men 5. Why are Children Targeted? And can Children who Abuse other Children be Treated? 6. What to Look for in Pre-Predators: Signs and Behaviors 7. The Rare Female Sexual Predator  II: Section B: Legal Issues Raised by Child Sexual Offenders 8. The Legal System’s Response to Child Sexual Abusers 9. The Juvenile Justice System’s Approach to Convicted Predators 10. Sexually Violent Predator Civil Commitment Statutes and Expert Mental Health Testimony.  III: Section C: Bibliography (Referenced in the Text of the Book)  IV: Section D: List of Legal Citation in Text  V: Section E: Reading List (of Works not Referenced in the Text)

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Jerome S. Blackman, MD, DFAPA, FACPsa, is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Training Analyst for the Contemporary Freudian Society-Washington, DC, and author of three prior books from Routledge. He spent ten years consulting to Child Protection in five parishes in the New Orleans area, where he personally evaluated over 5000 cases of child abuse; about 2000 were alleged sexual abuse perpetrators. He was a state witness in juvenile, state, and federal courts, served on boards of child abuse shelters, and was designated by Louisiana as a Child Sexual Abuse Treatment Resource.

Kathleen Dring, JD, PsyD
, attorney and psychologist, has, for the past 19 years, been a psychological consultant to the Child Protective and Foster Care Services of Virginia Beach and Norfolk, Virginia. Currently Secretary of the Virginia Psychoanalytic Society, she has served as an expert witness in child custody and parenting cases in Virginia. She has also been called on by Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Chesapeake to furnish evaluations and treatment to families in need, and has been an invited speaker for educational seminars to judges, attorneys, mental health providers, doctoral students, and guardians ad litem. 


We know much about how sexual abuse traumatizes children. We also know that sexual abuse perpetrators are not all cut from the same cloth. The authors, a psychiatrist and a lawyer-psychologist with many years of experience working with perpetrators, detail those factors in their character formation that help identify those who can be helped by mental health intervention and those who cannot—and must be left to the law. This work is an invaluable contribution toward the prevention of the traumatization of children!—Henri Parens, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Thomas Jefferson University; Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst (in Adult & Child) at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. 

Broad in scope, this richly informative book elucidates the etiology, consequences, and current psychoanalytic understanding of the sexual abuse of children. The roles of age, gender, psychological conflict and deficits, educational and social status are all carefully considered.  Issues of adolescent and adult perpetrators, including parents, are discussed with reference to child protection, recognizing that some pedophiles are untreatable. The vulnerability of the child to abuse is reviewed with empathy and insight. Avoiding simplicity, the authors synthesize complex legal issues. This book is highly recommended to all clinicians who confront the reality of child abuse.—Harold P. Blum, MD, FAPA, Training and Supervising Analyst, IPE affiliated with New York University School of medicine; former Editor, JAPA.

Having for decades studied severe personality disorders and psychoses, it is exhilarating for me to recommend this much needed, superbly written, and highly valuable book. In so doing, they fill a gap in our knowledge about developmental defects, actualized unconscious fantasies, and pathological defenses in pedophiles—going light-years past the DSM-5 descriptions (which they critique). They discuss how to determine treatability, and offer a highly reasoned criticism of relevant Supreme Court decisions over the past 40 years.—Vamık D. Volkan, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, University of Virginia; Emeritus Training and Supervising Analyst, Washington Psychoanalytic Institute.

This wide-ranging discourse on the dark and heinous realm of sexual abuse of children elucidates not only the forces that make adults prone to such violations, but also addresses the thorny problem of how these troubled and troubling people might be helped. A seamless blend of psychoanalytic theory, child developmental observations, criminology, descriptive psychiatry, jurisprudence, and basic human wisdom, Blackman and Dring's book offers fresh insights and truly useful strategies to understand and ameliorate this tragic and painful scenario.—Salman Akhtar, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia.