Mandatory Reporting Laws

Hi everyone :smiley: I just wanted to ask if Prostasia had a stance on mandatory reporting laws?

Most MAP’s I’ve spoken to so far see the law as a significant barrier to those who want therapy because your chances of being reported are apparently quite high (even if you haven’t broken any laws), which as you can probably imagine can have life ruining consequences.

4 Likes

In the setting of therapy we should have the model of germany. Mandated reporting is only for murder over there. That might make alot of people uncomfortable but mandated reporting stops people getting help to stop committing crimes. I’ve heard of pedophiles who are watching child porn and want to stop, but they cant do it one their own. But they tell a therapist they will get reported so they cant get help. Ending mandated reporting would stop crimes from being commited.

5 Likes

As far as I’m aware Prostasia hasn’t publicly taken an official position. It is worth noting that, for most MAPs, the issue isn’t mandatory reporting laws themselves, but rather therapists misinterpreting or misunderstanding their obligations under those laws or inaccurately assessing the risk posed by MAPs due to their own biases. Increased training would play a major role in addressing this.

That being said, there is also evidence that mandatory reporting can negatively impact survivors (i.e. if a survivor wants professional support, they can’t receive it without risking a mandatory report). In some cases, this may dissuade survivors from seeking support, so I’d assume Prostasia would, at the very least, support reforming mandatory reporting laws so that survivors can access support on their own terms. That’s just my assumption, though, I’m not qualified to set Prostasia’s policies.

The fact that we retweeted this is also somewhat indicative of our position:

4 Likes

I agree 100%! The German model is completely free too as far as I know, so there’s even less barriers to therapy for those who want it than in other countries.

3 Likes

Thank you for taking the time to go through Prostasia’s tweets! :gift_heart:

What do you think of the German model (Project Dunkelfeld)? :smiley:

2 Likes

Personally, I feel like mandatory reporting is always going to be counterproductive. If a victim wants to report a crime, that is absolutely their right, but they also shouldn’t be forced to do so when they’re not ready or willing to. The legal process can be extremely hard on survivors and nobody should be forced to go through that just because they sought support from a professional.

On the offender side, I think mandatory reporting laws are just as ineffective because offenders know they exist. Someone who is offending and doesn’t want to stop has no reason to seek support, so they’re not gonna worry about mandatory reporting laws, but someone who wants help to stop is likely to be discouraged by the risk of being reported. They have no impact on offenders besides discouraging those who want to stop seeking support.

I’d be in favor of eliminating all mandatory reporting (except maybe in cases where there’s an ongoing police investigation, but even then I’d need to think about the ethics), as it only seems to harm survivors and prevent people from getting support. Sure, there are cases where mandatory reporting may prevent future abuse, but there are other, less harmful ways to accomplish that, in my opinion.

I know that doesn’t directly answer your question, but I felt like just commenting on the German mandatory reporting model specifically would have been somewhat limited.

4 Likes

I think mandatory reporting laws are fine, so long as it’s limited to cases where contact abuse offending is confirmed, or unconfirmed cases where the risk of offending is so high, that it’s inexorable.

I think the harms in mandatory reporting by clinicians arise from the lack of information and the overestimation of risk, as well as a lack of objectivity when it comes to identifying risk-enhancing behaviors or simply identifying what behavioral or psychological characteristics constitute predisposition, as well as how said behaviors may affect persons with such predispositions.

Obviously, every person is different, and the mere presence of a pedophilic sexual interest is not, on its own, a risk factor for CSA perpetration, so naturally most clinicians would probably defer to more objective aspects, like their access to children, how they interact with them, and how often when evaluating risk.
But even then, focusing solely on these aspects might be all too tempting to a clinician because it’s “better safe than sorry” to bring it to light, which to them, simply being wrong about it is more preferable than standing by and allowing abuse to occur. I would agree with that position, but only in cases where the risk is real or tangible.

Some would argue that it might not be feasible to, in all cases, narrow down that level of risk, but I disagree. It’s very much possible to accurately profile individuals in a clinical setting, so long as those involved remain objective in their observations and methodology. It’s important not to overstate specific variables, but also just as important not to understate them.

2 Likes

Honestly, I’m not too thrilled about lawmakers stepping in and carving out exceptions to patient privacy protections, even in this matter.
Politicians are not doctors. They are not educated, they are not informed, they are not in any way qualified to consult, advise, or otherwise dictate what actions or decisions that an actual medical or psychological professional may make.

Lawmakers in conservative-led states are already drafting legislation that would require doctors and medical professionals to disclose to authorities whether or not their patient plans to terminate their pregnancy, as well as laws regulating what types of medicines can be prescribed, in some cases, without regard to whether a woman is pregnant.
In addition to this, they are also considering legislation that would require medical professionals to track and record the sexual practices and health of their patient before prescribing birth control.
These laws are an unjustified, egregious and repugnant overreach into the private lives of women and young girls. They are without a doubt civil liberties violations, and the ramifications and consequences of these horrifying intrusions by the state are already affecting the healthcare options of women.
To call them overbroad, in the sense that they reach into areas where pregnancy is not a question, would be inappropriate because that would run the risk of implying that the primary intent or focus of said legislation, that being the control of imposition of viewpoints and control over culture via the subjugation and subordination of woman-kind through what is objectively a ‘red herring’, that being an interest in the ‘safety of the unborn’ - had some legitimacy. It does not, it has not, and it never will.

My heart sinks into my stomach and twists with disgust at the fact that this is our reality, that these radical right-wing conservatives were allowed to discard, overlook, or flat-out ignore the reality of our world.

Even then, in spite of this observation, I can’t bring myself to argue against the function of mandatory reporting laws if they can be executed in a manner that is both responsible, concise, and objective, and ethical, on the simple fact that the prevention of harms caused by CSA necessitate some overarching intervention.
The commitment to objectivity and ethical practice, as a means to identify and control the negative consequences, should be a testament to all professionals, and one that I know for a fact is a standard among the most informed and educated. But sadly, this type of commitment to ethics is of no interest to a conservative politician, which was actually a big reason why a recognized right to privacy exists.

1 Like

:thinking: Hypothetically speaking, if mandatory reporting laws were still in place and therapists perfectly reported confirmed csa and high risk cases every single time, would you even get anyone going there if they did any offences knowing that they would be reported? At that point wouldn’t all of the people seeking therapy be ones who didn’t commit a hands on offence anyway?

Like put yourself in their shoes, if you did something that broke the law would you go and tell the person who’s going to report you and ruin your life?

So at that point as potential non-offending patient how would you know if you qualified as “high risk”? Looking at shota/loli (especially in a country where it’s illegal) could be seen as high risk, maybe the therapist will be totally fine about it but you as the patient are unlikely to know if you’ll be seen as a danger and so you would have to start to weigh the pro’s and con’s of seeking therapy. Pro’s: I might find life a bit easier and I can finally get some stuff off my chest. Cons: You pay for the chance of getting outed, arrested and killed.

I think once people start putting themselves in the shoes of the person receiving therapy rather than the perspective of the therapist (or society in general) we’ll begin to see all of the unecessary barriers and problems these laws create.

2 Likes

Perhaps there is some room for an argument to be made for those who have committed an offense to receive help, but such an argument would have to be contingent on a unanimous consensus between their clinician, the victim (and their family), and legal authorities, on the condition that they continue treatment and not allow themselves to be put into a position where the risk of reoffending is non-zero.
A valid and legitimate interest DOES exist for why contact offenders need to be removed from the population.

In the majority of cases, those who are seeking help in a clinical or therapeutic setting have not committed a hands-on contact offense.
People seek help for a variety of reasons, but the overwhelming majority of those who do have not committed a hands-on offense, and the clinicians who record such statistics have reliable and consistent means by which the veracity of such claims is tested with a very low room for error.

Typically, if someone has, in the past, perpetrated an offense, they will not seek help for it, but will continue to periodically offend until they are either caught and removed from the population (prison, involuntary commitment), or they simply stop and consume CSAM or fictional materials (stories, drawings, CGI, etc.).

That’s why you have to make sure you know you’re seeing a qualified, educated, and informed specialist with a background in clinical psychology and specializations specifically in paraphilias or problematic behaviors.
If someone is nervous about whether their coping strategies constitute ‘risk-enhancing behavior’, then I’d advise them to read up on what constitutes that, as well as to read up on who they’ll be talking to, their prior work history, which University or academic institution they graduated from, etc. should they make that decision to reach out.

There was a study I found which surveyed the perceptions of clinicians and their perceptions on MAPs, and they found that, of those surveyed, roughly 45%-55% did not view the use of child-like sex dolls as “risk-enhancing behavior”, while the DSM-5-TR will, upon further deliberation and review, exclude viewing virtual child pornography from being regarded as risk-enhancing behavior, wholly separate from actual materials (following a critique by Michael Seto).

It should be worth mentioning that there exists a wide range of variability when it comes to these types of issues, but the reality behind most of it is that most people who are pedophilic or have pedophilic interests don’t really feel the need to go forward, or find ways to manage without the need for such assistance.
This still doesn’t necessarily mean that it wouldn’t help them to reach out in some manner or talk to a professional, but the absolute need for it is not there. These are the silent majority.

That all depends on how the matter is viewed, and by whom. I do think that the “put myself in their shoes” approach is very productive because it functions as a sort of inverse projection, but I’m also not so sure that everyone who does this will do so in a productive manner, especially if they don’t even know the difference between pedophilia and pedophilic disorder or what actually increases risk.

1 Like

But wouldn’t this rule only discourage people who’ve had a contact offence (unknown to the authorities) from seeking help to stop? For example in the scenario where an adult and somebody under the legal age of consent has had sex with each other but the teen/child enjoyed the experience and never reports it but the adult regrets it and thinks their behavior at the time was wrong and wants to make sure it doesn’t happen again, what do you to help them?

My point being that the threat of “removing them from the population” is hardly going to encourage them to try therapy in order to stop certain behaviors. But if they were going to “get away with it” anyway isn’t the most pragmatic solution letting them get the help so they don’t offend again rather than turning them away?

1 Like

I understand what you’re saying about finding the best qualified specialist therapist but no matter how educated they are, no therapist will ever be perfect and this fact alone would make most people not want to take that gamble because the therapist has the power to essentially ruin their lives with a push of a button. This also ignores the fact that people of color are regularly seen as more dangerous and a higher risk in general compared to their white counterparts and could potentially trigger mandatory reporting laws even if they said the same things as a white person.

I think the problem I have with it is that there is far too much risk for no real reward, most MAP’s find out that they’re sexually attracted to children when they’re children themselves and are constantly bombarded with hate and billboards/posters/ads etc saying “Get Help” which can make it seem like that’s what you’re supposed to do, only to realize that when you actually try to get this help they out you and get the authorities involved because the therapist didn’t like the way you look or what you said.

2 Likes