Resources for People Concerned About Their Own Sexual Thoughts and Behavior During the COVID-19 Outbreak
Millions of people are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, experiencing more stress and anxiety, social isolation, and boredom while spending more time at home and online as a result of stay-at-home directives.
We recognize there is a need for mental health resources during the pandemic. In addition, we know more people are reaching out for help with concerns about their sexual thoughts or behaviors involving children. In response, Dr. Michael Seto at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group and Dr. Elizabeth Letourneau at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have created this portal to existing support resources. All of these resources were screened for credibility of source, actionable advice, relevancy, user-friendliness, and accessibility.
Seeking help takes courage. We believe people who are concerned about their sexual thoughts or behaviors involving children can be helped.
Help Wanted is an online course designed to provide the skills and tools necessary for adolescents and young adults with an attraction to children to live safe, healthy, and non-offending lives. Course sessions include strategies for coping with an attraction to children, determining whether and how to talk about their attraction with others, and testimonials from people with an attraction to children who lead successful, offense-free lives. Help Wanted is anonymous and self-paced, and course sessions can be accessed in any order.
Troubled Desire is an online service for people who are concerned about their sexual feelings for children and early adolescents. They offer online resources and if available, a local therapist. Hosted in Germany, Troubled Desire guarantees confidentiality and anonymity and is subject to strict European Data Privacy laws. (Website is in English, French, German, Hindi, Marathi, Portuguese, and Spanish).
Stop it Now! USA provides education and other resources to prevent child sexual abuse. They have self-help pages for people who are concerned they might engage in harmful sexual behavior, a confidential helpline at 1.888.PREVENT and online chat. (Website is English only).
Stop it Now! UK & Ireland provides anonymous hotline and confidential advice and support to people worried about their own thoughts, feelings, or behavior towards children. They offer self-help resources for people who are worried about their online behavior, and self-help resources for people who are worried about their thoughts, feelings, or behavior towards minors. (Website language is English).
Stop it Now! Flanders (Belgium) and Stop it Now! Netherlands provide a confidential helpline at 0800.200.50 (Belgium) and 0800.266.64.36 (Netherlands) and online chat for support. In 2017, both organizations launched “Stopping is Possible” for those who are concerned about their viewing of child sexual exploitation material (child pornography). (Both websites are in Dutch).
Based in Sweden, Preventell is a free helpline offering anonymous consultation and referrals for individuals concerned about their sexual interests or behaviors. Preventell is offered by ANOVA, department of Sexual Medicine at the Karolinska University Hospital. The helpline is open on weekdays from 12PM to 3PM CET and can be reached at 020.667.778.
PrevenSI. is an organization based in Spain that offers free and anonymous consultation and referrals to those with sexual interest in children through their helpline, messenger, and email. PrevenSI. is the result of the union of three entities: Intress association, IRES Foundation, and the Institute of Forensic Psychology (IPF). Their helpline and messenger are both open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 4PM to 8PM CET and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10AM to 2PM CET. The PrevenSI helpline can be reached at 900.440.443 and their messenger is available on their website.
Dis No is a French program based in Switzerland that offers anonymous support for those struggling with their sexual interest in children. They are available through their helpline (0 840 740 640) Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9:30AM to 12:00PM CET and 1:30PM to 4PM CET or through their email at . Please note that when contacting the helpline, an 8 cent per minute charge will apply.
Founded in 1922, Save the Children Finland’s objective is to further children’s rights. A part of their work is the prevention of child sexual abuse. Save the Children Finland, in co-operation with the Criminal Sanctions Agency and the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS), created a self-help program for people who are concerned about their sexual interest in children. The program was launched in 2018 and can be used anonymously and free of charge. (Program is available in English and Finnish).
Virtuous Pedophiles offers an online peer support group for pedophilic individuals committed to never acting sexually with a child. Support group topics include: coping with sexual or romantic feelings about children, depression or anxiety, and social isolation. To participate in a peer support group, email email@example.com to request access. (Website and discussions are in English).
B4U-ACT is a collaboration of mental health professionals and minor-attracted people (MAPs) to promote quality mental health care for MAPs who seek it. They provide education about MAPs’ life circumstances, strengths, and mental health needs, to enable therapists and researchers to treat MAPs in more knowledgeable, ethical, non-stigmatizing, and effective ways. Activities include annual workshops for mental health professionals and MAPs to promote dialog and understanding, research collaboration on MAP mental health and well-being, MAP referrals to therapists abiding by our therapeutic guidelines, a monthly "Dialog on Therapy" teleconference, a researcher email group, and support forums for MAPs and family. (Website and discussions are in English).
Safe to Talk is a New Zealand-based program that offers free, confidential support to those who have been sexually harmed, or who are concerned about their own thoughts and behaviors. Support can include answers to questions about sexual harm; information about medical, emotional, and behavioral issues related to sexual harm; information about reporting to the police; referral to specialists in your area; and information for family and friends. Trained specialists are available 24/7 through email (firstname.lastname@example.org), text (4334), live chat, or phone (0800 044 334). Safe to talk also offers interpreter services for 44 languages for those whose first language is not English. (Website language is English).