Reporters for Australia’s ABC Tasmania have reportedly been warned to avoid using the term ‘pedophile’ when referring to an accused serial child molestor, for fear of “discouraging” non-offending pedophiles from seeking help.
In an email to reporters, an unnamed senior producer at ABC said that the Sexual Assault Support Service (SASS) had “mentioned their concerns” about describing former nurse James Geoffrey Griffin – who committed suicide in 2019 after the allegations against him were made public – as a pedophile.
Griffin was accused by multiple women of having abused them as children as far back as the 1980s, and after police searched his home in 2019, “a significant amount of child exploitation material” was found, ABC reported. He was subsequently charged with more than a dozen crimes.
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“We should avoid [the term pedophile], unless we know he had a clinical diagnosis of paedophilia and instead use serial sexual offender / predator, or a sexual abuser of children and young people,” the producer warned.
The email cautioned that the SASS says there are a lot of pedophiles or “people with paedophilia” who “do not act on those impulses,” particularly if they “reach out for and receive professional psychological help.”
The producer added that calling Griffin a pedophile “could discourage” non-offending pedophiles “from seeking help, making it more likely that they go on to abuse children.”