Save the Children Finland has in co-operation with the Criminal Sanctions Agency and the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) created a self-help program otanvastuun.fi (I take responsibility) for adolescents and adults who are concerned about their sexual interest in children. The program was published in January 2018 and can be used anonymously and free of charge. It is available on Mental Hub (mielenterveystalo.fi) which has approximately 80,000-90,000 users per month and is maintained by HUS. Mental Hub already has different self-help materials for example on coping with depression and on anxiety. You’ll find the program here.
Who is the website aimed at?
Otanvastuun.fi self-help program is primarily intended for people who are worried about their sexual interest, thoughts, feelings or actions concerning children. The program benefits people who acknowledge that he or she has a primary sexual interest in children.
The program can be used by professionals working with offenders and potential offenders in Finland. The exercises are easily available to be used in day-to-day work. As sexual interest in children is often recognized already in adolescence, the program is well suited also for the young. Program has many exercises and information on related issues such mental health disorders, anxiety and substance abuse, which are also known to be related to sexual interest in children.
Why did we create otanvastuun.fi?
The program engages potential abusers to consider the consequences of sexual activities directed at children and provides tools for controlling their own harmful behaviour. The program also encourages users to reflect on their own lives and how to pursue things that matter to them in non-harmful ways.
The program consists of three parts:
1. What does it mean to have sexual interest in children ?
2. How can I control my behaviour if I have sexual interest in children?
3. The way forward: How to maintain adapted behavioral and cognitive changes and where to find more help.
The background for this program is in Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT). The program challenges misbeliefs and thoughts regarding sexual action towards children. It also offers exercises to change these beliefs and provides information on where to seek help.
Everyone has the possibility to make a choice and behave in a way that respects the rights of the child.
In 2015, Save the Children Finland published the first self-help material for people who are sexually interested in children. This material has been widely used among professionals working in the field and it won the National Crime Prevention Price in 2015.
Have you seen child sexual abuse material? Report illegal online content here.