A theoretical analysis of real and virtual child sexual abuse
In this chapter I introduce the main theories that inform the analysis within this book and highlight signifi cant themes and tensions that arise in the attempt to explain why child sexual abuse (CSA) occurs in both the cyber and the real world. I embark on the argument that in order to reduce the problem of CSA effectively, understand CSA in the context of online abuse and manage the risks posed by sex offenders’ behaviour, it is important to understand why and how sex offenders get to the point of sexually abusing a child. However, explaining why men and women commit sexual abuse, and how best to rehabilitate them is always a work in progress (Gannon, Polaschek and Polaschek 2005) because, as explained by Finkelhor (1986), there are not ‘single factor theories’ to explain sexual interest in children. Furthermore, CSA is a genuinely multidisciplinary problem that requires the close cooperation of a wide range of professionals with different skills.