Proactive Strategies to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse and the Use of Child Abuse Images: The German Dunkelfeld-Project for Adults (PPD) and Juveniles (PPJ)

  • Klaus M. BeierEmail author


The contribution describes a German prevention approach which aims at improving proactive strategies to protect children from sexual exploitation by online offenses, such as the consumption and/or distribution of child abuse images (so-called “child pornography”), and hands-on contact child sexual abuse. Prevention strategies include research on individuals at risk to commit primary or recurrent sexual offenses against children, while at the same time offering diagnostic assessment and preventive treatment. The project goal is to help individuals gain control over their behaviors in order to prevent the sexual abuse of children. As it is acknowledged that many offenders against children remain undetected by legal authorities in the “Dunkelfeld” (literally ‘dark field’) and are therefore not included in any official statistics, this program focuses on those who admit a longstanding sexual interest in children, self-motivated by the distress experienced due to their sexual preference. The German Dunkelfeld approach started off at the Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine at the Charité—Universitätsmedizin in Berlin (Germany) in 2005 with the launching of the Prevention Project Dunkelfeld (PPD) aiming at adults above the age of 18 years. In 2014, and due to the success of the PPD, another project was launched, the Berlin Project for Primary Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse by Juveniles (PPJ) focusing on adolescents between the age 12 and 18 years. The first evaluation of the PPD revealed that it reduces risk factors for child sexual abuse, prevents sexual offending against minors, and reduces the number of contact offenses as well as frequency and severity of child pornography offenses. First results from the PPJ also confirmed that the group of juveniles with a sexual preference for pre- and/or early pubescent minors exists as a target group for preventive measures.


Prevention Dunkelfeld Child sexual abuse Child abuse images Pedophilia Assessment Treatment Juveniles Comorbidity Media campaign 



Berlin Dissexuality Therapy


Child Abuse Images


Child Sexual Abuse


Dynamic Risk Factors


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders


International Classification of Mental and Behavioral Disorders


Prevention Project Dunkelfeld


Prevention Project Juveniles




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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health and Human SciencesInstitute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine, Charité—Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlinGermany

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