Contrary to popular belief, not all sex offenders who target children are pedophiles, and not all pedophiles commit sexual offenses. But what is unequivocal is that pedophilia, which is defined as a persistent sexual interest in prepubescent children, is an emotionally charged and controversial topic. Parents are understandably worried about the safety and well-being of their children and want to protect them from being sexually exploited. Mental health and criminal justice professionals want to learn more about the assessment methods and intervention techniques that are available to develop and implement effective policies and practices.

In this book, author Michael C. Seto addresses key concerns and questions in dealing with these clinical populations: How can pedophilia be detected? What causes pedophilia and sexual offending against children, and what is the relationship between the two? How do we assess risk to sexually offend? Finally, what do we know about intervention and prevention to reduce the occurrence of sexual offenses against children? In addition to a comprehensive synthesis of theory and research, the author demonstrates how this knowledge informs current treatment practices with the inclusion of illustrative case examples, sample interview questions, assessment tools, and online resources.

Table of Contents



  1. Introduction: Defining Pedophilia
  2. Assessment Methods
  3. Different Approaches to Studying Pedophiles
  4. Origins of Sexual Offending Against Children
  5. Etiology of Pedophilia
  6. Incest
  7. Risk Assessment
  8. Intervention


Resource A: Additional Information About Assessment Methods

Resource B: Risk Assessment

Resource C: Sex Offender Treatment Resources


Author Index

Subject Index

About the Author

Reviews & Awards

In this outstanding book, Seto accomplishes his objective of presenting "an overview of current scientific knowledge about pedophilia and sexual offending against children." The author has the knack of getting to the heart of many complex issues, using research evidence as a guide and translating multiple sources of information into potential solutions.
—New England Psychologist