Cape Verde Law Firm | Carla Monteiro & Associados - Difference Between Paedophilia and Child Sexual Abuse


Wednesday, 15 Jun 2022

Difference Between Paedophilia and Child Sexual Abuse

Paedophilia is a sexual preference for children, whether boys or girls, usually prepubescent (not yet in puberty) or at the beginning of puberty, being classified among others as a sexual preference disorder, considered a type of sexual perversion, that is, they are adults who permanently and intensely have sexual fantasies, physical attraction and sexual relations with children

Paedophilia is part of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) with health-related problems and concerns personality disorders caused by sexual preference for children and adolescents.

For it to be considered paedophilia it is necessary for the paedophile to be at least five (5) years older than the victim and the children who are often targeted for these behaviours are 13 years old or younger

Profile of a paedophile:

Paedophiles are usually people who are highly available, sympathetic, friendly, happy, helpful, always willing to satisfy the desire or the need of the little victim and always act according to their final intention which is to have total domination over the child with whom they intend to obtain sexual satisfaction.

By satisfying the child’s wishes and being his friend, the paedophile decreases the chances of the child defending himself from abuse situations and denying his requests.

Some common behaviours demonstrated by paedophiles:

  1. Paedophiles are usually not as interested in adults as they are in children.
  2. They often have jobs that allow them to meet children of a certain age or plan other ways to spend time with children.
  3. The paedophile normally goes through a process through which he wins the trust of the children and also the trust of the parents, eliminating any kind of future suspicion.
  4. The paedophile approaches the child by showing interest in their games, their play, and even by watching the cartoons and showing he knows the cartoon characters.

How to protect a child from a paedophile?

Now, it is necessary for parents to bear in mind that any adult, irrespective of age or social class can be a potential paedophile, so parents should know the profile of a paedophile and know how to recognise the signs when they are facing a threat.

Another measure of prevention is also to explain to the children that there are certain parts of the body that no one should touch or touch and if this happens they should immediately report it to their parents.

It is necessary that children feel protected in their daily lives, and so parents have to be attentive and position themselves as their children’s best friends, and always being present in their lives and open to conversation.

Always pay attention to your children, dedicating time to them so as not to make room for other people to enter their lives.

Sexual abuse of children

Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual activity where the perpetrator makes use of force, threat that renders the victim incapable of denying consent.

Sexual abuse happens when someone in a position of power or authority takes advantage of a child’s trust and respect to engage them in sexual activities without their consent.

It is also considered sexual abuse when the aggressor exposes his sexual organ or performs masturbation in front of the victim without consent.

Cape Verde Law Firm | Carla Monteiro & Associados - Difference Between Paedophilia and Child Sexual Abuse

Signs that may identify sexual abuse:

  • Change in behaviour such as occurs when a person was very extrovert and becomes very shy.
  • Avoid social contact and prefer to be alone.
  • Easy crying, sadness, loneliness, anguish and anxiety.
  • When the victim is a child they may even become ill or flee from contact with other people.
  • Sleep disturbance.
  • Anal or vaginal itching, pain or discharge.

Physical and emotional consequences of sexual abuse:

The victim may have deep scars such as: frequent and repetitive nightmares, low self-esteem, fears, phobias, mistrust, difficulty eating, low school performance, suicide attempts, difficulty socialising and expressing their feelings, they may even become adults who abuse other children.

The Penal Code of Cape Verde, hereinafter simply CP, has provisions that protect children and adolescents from sexual abuse, thus punishing offenders.

The CP, under the terms of no. 1 of article 144, with the epigraph Sexual abuse of children, stipulates that “Whoever practices a sexual act with or with a minor under the age of 16 years or leads him to practice it with another person, is punished with penalty imprisonment from 4 to 10 years”.

In addition, paragraph 2 of the same article states that “if there is sexual penetration, the penalty will be imprisonment from 5 to 12 years”.

In the same sense, paragraph 1 of article 145 of the CP provides, with the epigraph Sexual Abuse against a minor aged between 16 and 18 years, that “Whoever is of legal age, performs a sexual act with or with a minor over 16 years of age and under 18 years of age, years, prevailing over his superiority, originated by any relationship or situation, or from the fact that the victim is entrusted with education or assistance, shall be punished with imprisonment and 4 to 10 years.”

Paragraph 2 of the same article also adds that “if there is sexual penetration, the penalty will be imprisonment from 4 to 10 years”.

In short, the abuser is often someone close to the child and his family, and ends up confusing the child regarding sexual violence with an act of affection, by using persuasion, rewards and threats.

It is then concluded that sexual abuse is a crime foreseen and punished by law, as it constitutes an aggression to the well-being of the minor, thus reaching the child’s self-determination and therefore requires a broad and comprehensive response from the legal system, articulated and coordinated with the social structure and granted to protect child victims and keep aggressors and abusers in check.

The abuser takes advantage of specific situations, in which children are more vulnerable, to obtain sexual satisfaction.

Paedophilia, on the other hand, is a personality disorder of sexual preference characterised by sexual preference for children, that is to say, a person with this type of disorder will always have a sexual preference for children, whereas the sexual abuser does not have this profile.

It is necessary to bear in mind that paedophilia can only be considered a crime if the paedophile puts his wishes into practice.

And if there is a proven situation of paedophilia, it is not enough for the paedophile to serve time, as it is necessary to create laws that oblige him to undergo psychological and psychiatric treatment during his sentence.

Pay attention to the signs and protect your child.

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