Published: 07-04-2016 13:02 | Updated: 07-04-2016 13:15

New project tests preventive treatment against child sexual abuse

Christoffer Rahm is principal investigator for the project Priotab which aims to treat men with sexual attraction to children, before they commit an abuse. The study will be partfunded by crowdfunding.

The idea for the project was founded when Christoffer Rahm did his specialist training in psychiatry and did a rotation at a child psychiatry clinic where he met patients that had been sexually abused. The next rotation was on the Center for Andrology and Sexual Medicine – CASM (where the project now is based) and there he met the perpetrators.

– I saw the entire chain of links and understood that we have to intervene before the abuse occurs. The harm to the child can never be undone, says Christoffer Rahm, project leader for Priotab.

The project will be partly financed by crowdfunding, where investors and public can donate money for project they believe in. The research is also funded with grants but the idea is that the remaining part will come by crowdfunding, when the project is posted on the platform Walacea. Media have shown a large interest for the project and Christoffer hopes that the public will be interested too.

More about the project

Priotab consists of four sub-projects. One is a clinical trial of a medicine, often used to treat prostate cancer, which now is tested on men with sexual attraction to children. The medicine suppresses the male sex hormone testosterone, and the hypthesis is that this has an acute onset risk reducing effect, without untolerable side effects. The men have been asked to participate in the study when they sought help through Preventell – a help line for unwanted sexuality driven by CASM. Another subproject in Priotab is an analysis of the medical ethical aspects associated with this kind of research. That is done in collaboration with Centre of Healthcare Ethics at Karolinska Institutet.

In a third sub-project biomarkers for risk of committing child sexual abuse is sought after. Blood samples, brain imaging and neuropsychological tests will be studied. Dr Benny Liberg is a collaborator of that study. There will also be a register based study where patients will be followed up during a longer period, in collaboration with Niklas Långström at Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, KI.

– The goal of Priotab is to reduce the number of child sexual abuse by establishing an evidence based preventive and tolerable treatment for men with paedophilic disorder, intervening before the damage is done, says Christoffer.

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Credit: Studio Annalog.