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    Sep 01, 2014

    He dates woman so he can rape her child

    SHE thought he loved her.

    But the 36-year-old divorcee was shattered when she found out that all her boyfriend wanted was her six-year-old daughter.

    When she first befriended him, the 40-year-old man was exceptionally caring towards both her and her child. After a few months of dating, she started to trust him.

    She even left the girl in his care.

    But one day, the child told her that the man had been messing with her.

    The daughter said they would play games which involved her stripping.

    The woman secretly installed a camera in her daughter's room. That was when she caught her boyfriend red-handed - raping her child.

    "This man deliberately took pains to know her and become close as he wanted to target the child. This is the typical behaviour of a predating paedophile. They go to great lengths to groom their victim," said Dr Lim Boon Leng, a consultant psychiatrist at the Gleneagles Hospital.

    A paedophile is usually an adult man with a long-term sexual interest in children who are usually under the age of 11.

    Dr Lim has worked with paedophiles for seven years and is involved in diagnosing and treating them.

    He and several other psychiatrists The New Paper on Sunday approached described the modus operandi of paedophiles:

    They find ways to be around children and seek out occupations and volunteer positions that involve kids as much as possible.

    Some will even marry or become friends with women who have children to gain access to the kids.

    They start out offering gifts, favours and friendship over a period of time, ranging from weeks to months or even years, using this time to build a child's trust while playing and being in close contact.

    According to police statistics, there has been a rise in the number of statutory rape cases involving girls under the age of 14.

    There were 40 cases of statutory rape from January to June, compared with 23 cases in the same period last year.

    Police said the culprits in the majority of these cases are known to the victims and are youth offenders.

    Treatment for paedophilia, which is a psychosexual disorder, is possible.

    In order for paedophilia to be diagnosed clinically, these unusual thoughts or behaviour must be present for at least six months and must cause distress to the affected individual or impair his ability to function socially or occupationally.

    In prison, paedophiles who are assessed to be at moderate or high risk of re-offending are put through a treatment programme. The sex offender is given the skills and knowledge necessary to stop their behaviour.

    But Dr Lim says it is not so clear-cut for people who have not committed offences.

    They do not come forward because they know that people will judge them.

    Only 5 per cent seek treatment, said another psychiatrist, G. S. Devan from Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre.

    "The majority have to go through the justice system to get diagnosed and treated."

    This is worrying because early treatment is still key in preventing a paedophile from acting out the fantasy, said Dr Lim.