Unmasking the Abuser – Behaviour of the fixated paedophile.


by Ray Wyre formerly of Gracewell Institute in 1991

These behaviours are directed to both boys and girls, although boys are referenced in this document. It depends on the paedophile’s gender preference


  • Fantasises and masturbates to previous sexual contacts
  • Fantasises over anticipated contacts
  • Gets to know a child informally- either a club or in a street
  • Gets to know the parents first to develop trust
  • Continues to get to know the child socially
  • Takes the boy to the cinema, theatre etc.
  • Accompanies the child home
  • Gains boy’s trust


  • Finds out what is troubling the child at home
  • Finds out what is troubling the child at school
  • Becomes the counsellor
  • Develops a “friendship”
  • Sometimes targets neglected child
  • Counselling takes place in the car


  • Child begins to come around to the house at his invitation
  • Encourages the child to tell their parents
  • When the child leaves or arrives, some form of physical contact takes place i.e. wrestling
  • Teaches the child to play games i.e. chess
  • They watch TV together


  • Begins to put arm around child – if any resistance he withdraws
  • Tries physical contact again after a couple of meetings later, if arm around child is accepted there is a dramatic increase in fantasy and expectation, reinforced by masturbation as he looks forward to the child becoming a sexual partner
  • Touches child sexually through clothing
  • If child resists he withdraws and tries again later. If reported, there is nothing at this stage that could lead to a conviction
  • Having touched child sexually outside of clothing he waits until the next time
  • Having touched child sexually he moves into gross indecency
  • Not much talking takes place
  • Finds out if child or friends have done it before
  • Warns child better not tell anyone
  • Mutual masturbation – carries on for quite a while – ejaculation
  • Moves in to mutual oral sex
  • Buggery on child first
  • Buggery on offender


  • Main arousal and orientation is towards children. We do not know how many men sexually aroused to children can control their behaviour. Some men get adult women to play roles of being children
  • Engages in highly predictable behaviour
  • Has poor relationships with peers
  • Molests large numbers of children. Why don’t children report this type of man? Because he uses fear and blackmail. Out of embarrassment and confusion, the children will not report him. The power of seduction is often misunderstood as are the manipulative threats. For example , one man said to a child “ If you tell, NOBODY will ever be able to cuddle you again”
  • Adopts pseudo-parental role
  • Is seductive in his approach
  • Follows clear patterns of behaviour to make contact with children
  • Takes time to form relationships with children
  • Uses child erotic material
  • Uses child pornography
  • May use adult pornography to lower inhibitions of children
  • Seeks to portray his behaviour as being normal
  • If he has friends they are probably also paedophiles
  • Shares information with other paedophiles
  • Has strong cognitive distortions
  • Will claim offence is out of character and a one-off occurrence
  • Lives alone or with parents or mother or friends
  • Over 25 years of age yet has no dating pattern with men or women
  • Enjoys the company of children. He will often stress how he loves children. However, the boy or girl will be left as he/she grows out of the paedophiles target age
  • May have pictures and décor in the home which appeal to children. Knows how to give attention to children, makes them feel special. Knows how to talk to children. More especially knows how to listen.
  • Presents himself as a “ nice” man
  • May deliberately set out to gain the trust of both parents
  • May be precise and well ordered
  • Considers status important
  • Uses authority to seduce
  • By institution selects vulnerable children, physically and emotionally neglected
  • Does not usually marry, but may be in a marriage as a disguise and convenience
  • May attach himself to a family to gain access to children
  • May belong to children’s organisations
  • Will have preference to children of a particular age range
  • The older the child he targets, the more likely he is to stick to that gender
  • Use of language about children a clue “ Clean, pure, innocent, rosebuds, princess “
  • Often wants to exclude other adults when with children. On a children’s camping trip for example he is the type to suggest the other adults go off and have a drink. He offers to get the children to bed. He seems self-sacrificing
  • May prefer limited sexual involvement i.e. no buggery
  • Enjoys photographing children
  • May create child sex rings
  • Interest in children begins in the paedophiles OWN adolescence
  • No precipitating stress needed