Can I Get Arrested for Just Having Thoughts?

Do I need help if I haven't crossed the line?

Many people wish they had sought help before they crossed the line and sexually abused a child. Through research we've learned that many adults who sexually abused a child wanted to stop but didn't know how. If you have sexually abused child, it is not too late to get help. If you haven't sexually abused a child but are concerned you might, ask for help now! You can call the Stop It Now! Helpline (1.888.PREVENT) to talk with understanding people who can offer support and guidance.

Sexual fantasies about children can be a warning sign

Having a fantasy is not illegal. But many adults who sexually abused a child have told us that they started out having sexual fantasies about children. They said if only they could have “fast-forwarded” their lives and seen the damage they would do to themselves and others, that they would not have acted on their fantasies. Not everyone who has sexual thoughts about children will sexually harm a child, but you should seek help now if you are having distracting or disturbing sexual fantasies about children.

What if I realize I have been tempted to do something I know I shouldn’t?

There may be fewer obstacles to seeking help for sexual behavior concerns before you sexually abuse a child, but it still takes guts to admit that you may have a problem. If you’re strategizing to be alone with a child or finding ways to break down a child’s resistance to being sexual in any way, these are indications of real risk and the need for outside help now.

If you are concerned about your sexual thoughts, attitudes, or behaviors towards children and would like to speak privately with a specialist, review our treatment referral list - you can contact the organizations listed and ask for a referral. No identifying information is required to find the name and number of a therapist near you.  If you still need help, you can contact the Stop It Now! Helpline (1.888.PREVENT) for guidance on finding professionals who can help you.