Making friends with a paedophile: ‘We can’t kill him so we help him not to do it again’

Whenever Paul Sloane wants to remind himself why he gives up a night a week to hang out with a convicted child sex offender, he thinks back to one phone call. The 55-year-old former engineer from Newcastle was recently rung on his mobile by a paedophile he had volunteered to befriend.

Paul recalls: “One day he rang me out of the blue. He had gone and bought a load of teddy bears to give out to kids. He said, ‘I feel really terrible.’ But he didn’t do anything with them and it makes you feel afterwards, good job we were here, because God knows what would’ve happened if we weren’t.”

Paul volunteers on a programme which aims to prevent child abuse by creating a friendship group around known perpetrators. The Independent on Sunday was given unprecedented access to these social support networks aimed at preventing convicted child sex offenders from reoffending.

Circles UK has been running these groups quietly in Britain for more than 10 years, but is so concerned about the hysteria around the subject that it usually shies away from publicity.

While befriending paedophiles may be a hard sell to the tabloid press, the statistics show that it works. A review of a Circles project in the South-east found that none of its 71 past clients had reoffended over a four-and-a-half-year period. A control group of 71 criminals with a similar offending history committed 10 new offences in the same period.

The latest man Paul has agreed to help is Barry, a 69-year-old who is on the sex offenders’ register for life after sexually assaulting young children, including his own son and stepson, for more than three decades.

Independent on Sunday 01/09/13


Filed under Abuse, News

14 responses to “Making friends with a paedophile: ‘We can’t kill him so we help him not to do it again’

  1. Don’t befriend them, kill them.
    Slaughter them all like dogs in the street.
    Paedophiles are scum and they should be treated as such.
    No filthy paedophile deserves ‘sympathy’ apart from the gracious human being which will spare the lives of many children by killing this vile child consuming beast.
    No paedophile is a human. Human beings do not mess about with children.

  2. nuggy

    yes that’s what i thought all it means is nobody’s been caught doing it.

    mind you if it stops just 1 person re offending its worth it.

  3. dpack

    it might work in some cases ,in others it wont ,in some it will be used as cover by a manipulative criminal to create an image of reform much like various other rehabilitation strategies.
    the re offending rate is high and the nature of the crimes often escalates in severity so some strategy is needed but this one seems rather doomed to failure.
    i dont have a solution but i recon prevention of further offending should be high on the list of things required.

  4. nuggy

    im sure this scheme does but im sceptically of the claim that nobody’s re offended surely they to there knowledge nobody has.

    • gw

      Yeah but that’s as good as you can get, isn’t it? You could say the same about any recidivism.

      general thoughts:

      Its understandable to say that they should be locked up until they are too old to have sex however that isn’t really feasible not least on the cost of keeping someone in prison!

      Personally I am in favour of increased rehabilitation and therapy – It seems unlikely that you can get someone to “kick” paedophilia (I don’t think it is a choice) however it seems plausible that you can modify behavior in order to stop them getting indecent images / carrying out a sexual assault (these are choices!)

      Of course victims need much better support however the two are not mutually exclusive.

  5. leon brittan

    does anyone want to be friends with me.

  6. More support for pedophiles, i did not see any such schemes for helping victims rebuild there shattered lives.
    As above it could also attract the curious types and provide a system of networking and just because they have not been caught offending does not mean that they are not.
    These people think that they are doing nothing wrong, that it is natural and completely wanted, that the little ones are coming on to them, is that not utterly insane and delusional, they need locking up until there so old that they are not able to have sex, sounds a bit extreme but unless there is a powerful deterrent then it will continue to grow.

  7. Hopeful

    Fantastic it it helps.

    We demonise paedophiles for obvious reasons, and they need to be punished by the legal system.

    But we have to rehabilitate them as well.
    The volunteers are doing a good job. More power to them.

    We can show paedophiles that their actions and crimes are truly abhorrent and will not be tolerated.

    But they are still human beings, albeit sick ones who need help.
    The learned behaviour can be unlearned. We have to have hope and belief in that.

  8. Pingback: Making friends with a paedophile: ‘We can’t kill him so we help him not to do it again’ | justiceforkevinandjenveybaylis

  9. Is this country run by Paedophile?! When I read news like above, I think we are run by a government of Paedos! That also includes the police! The royals! Right down to our school teachers etc. it starts from the top of the pyramid and works it way down! This is why it can’t be stopped! Until this pyramid of power is demolished from the UK corruption in the Establishment will never be destroyed.

  10. Befriend a Paedophile and learn the trade from him!

  11. steve

    well I have to say im amazed,that they can do such a thing,i think if it helps to stop reoffending that’s all great,but I for the life of me cant believe there are such people that can befriend the offenders and be in there presence but as I say if IT DOES STOP REOFFENDING THEN IT HAS TO LOOKED AT,BUT ME I DOUBT IT VERY MUCH