British researchers have made a shocking discovery about the scope of paedophilic tendencies in men that could have international relevance.
Up to three per cent of men experience the urge to abuse a child under the age of 12 or to look at explicit images of children, the UK’s national crime agency (NCA) estimated.
“The reality is that we are all living not far away from one,” NCA deputy director general Phil Gormley told the Daily Mail.
“We are starting to get a real sense of the scale.”
The UK estimate was based on academic research and statistics, which matched other European estimates of between one and three per cent of the male population.
In Australia, 12 per cent of women and 4.5 per cent of men report being sexually abused before the age of 15, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported in 2005.
Most commonly, the perpetrator of child sexual abuse is a male relative, a family friend or an acquaintance or neighbour.
Victims of such abuse often suffer a range of devastating consequences, including mental illness, drug use and suicidal thoughts.
A paedophile is defined as a person who is primarily sexually attracted to children under the age of 12.
Those who experience the urge to offend against children should seek medical assistance.