The realisation that a close family member may be a sexual offender inevitably brings up a huge range of emotions, including shame, guilt, disbelief, anger and fear. At the same time, the love, respect and affection do not disappear overnight. Trying to reconcile the mix of complicated feelings is emotionally exhausting, at a time when everything that you took for granted has been thrown into turmoil. Add to that the shocked reactions of family and friends, the intervention of Social Services, and the inevitable police involvement, and it is not surprising that families feel completely out of their depth, isolated and in need of support.
StopSO Support for Families is an online group that gives the family members of a sexual offender a forum to share their experiences and provide support to one another. This forum is also open to anyone whose partner is having troubling sexual thoughts, or is worried that they might be a paedophile. They don’t have to have committed an offence – anyone that is affected by their partner or spouse’s sexual behaviour is free to reach out to this group for support.
Although it is hosted and moderated by StopSO, it is not a professional helpline and does not give advice – rather it offers its users a platform to talk to others in the same situation. It is open to anyone who has a close relationship with a sexual offender, regardless of whether the offence happened years ago or has just become known. The group is open to those aged 18 or over.