Psychologist Who Treats Pedophiles Gives Parents Tips to Protect Their Kids

Psychologist Who Treats Pedophiles Gives Parents Tips to Protect Their Kids
Left: (Illustrations - New Africa/Shutterstock); Right: (Courtesy of Leslie Dobson)

A psychologist and mom of two who has worked with convicted pedophiles for years is sharing her wisdom with other parents to help them protect their children.

Leslie Dobson, 41, is a clinical and forensic psychologist from Canada who runs her practice out of Long Beach, California, where she lives with her husband and children. She has a 7-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old son. Ms. Dobson specializes in working with sexually violent predators, violence risk assessments, trauma, and civil litigation and testifies as an expert in matters of emotional damage from personal injury.

“I began working with pedophiles before I had children,” Ms. Dobson told The Epoch Times. “I started to notice the themes that the pedophiles would take advantage of: They would groom children, they would start to build that safety zone around a child, they pick their target, and they would start to become a familiar source or person in that child’s life.

As they would build that safety zone, they would start to slowly integrate sexual content ... the build-up of this pattern I saw in the pedophiles when they explained their targets and what led to their crime, is how I started to protect my children,” she said.

Ms. Dobson (Courtesy of <a href="">Leslie Dobson</a>)
Ms. Dobson (Courtesy of Leslie Dobson)

‘The Reality of the World’

As her years of experience working for the U.S. government with incarcerated pedophiles added up, Ms. Dobson realized she had a wealth of knowledge, but that knowledge was “held within the walls” of the jail. When she and her husband, who is also a forensic psychologist, shared their stories, people would often be shocked into silence.

“I thought, finally, I need to put this on a public platform,” Ms. Dobson said, “because I want somebody who’s actually credible, who’s experienced this, to share with the public the reality of the world.”

To help parents be less ignorant about the dangers and to protect their kids, Ms. Dobson started sharing some tips on her Instagram account.

To help protect children from pedophiles, Ms. Dobson shared four tips: Teach kids their address and phone number, teach them to scream when they are unsafe, understand your child’s behavior so you'll know when they’re “off their baseline,” and use trackers so you know where they are.

“Even with my 2-year-old, I practice his telephone number and his address every day,” she said. “It’s very important to me that if they get lost or taken, if they are with an authority, they can state where they live, and they can find their way back home.”

Additionally, Ms. Dobson also practices screaming with her children and encourages them to get comfortable with their voices.

“I teach them that if they are in danger, or touched or grabbed by a stranger, to scream that it’s not their parents,” she said. “If a 2-year-old is saying, ‘It’s not my mommy!’ it will turn eyes, turn heads.”

(Courtesy of <a href="">Leslie Dobson</a>)
(Courtesy of Leslie Dobson)

She said children need to learn how to “be a difficult victim,” so that a person who poses a threat knows that the child is going to fight back.

Meanwhile, trackers help parents to know where their kids are at all times. Ms. Dobson recommends trackers that can be placed in shoes or watches, such as an Apple AirTag or Gizmo Watch.

Be ‘Really Aware’

“I think a huge tip is to be so aware of your child’s behavior that you realize when they’re off their baseline,” Ms. Dobson said. “You need to know your child well enough: their emotions, how they respond to difficulties and stress, their happiness, what keeps them interested. You need to know them well enough so that when that changes, you can identify what led to the change.”

These cues can help identify when a child is in significant danger such as when they have been molested or sexually assaulted.

When changes are noticed such as weight loss, isolation, depression, acting out, bedwetting, overdressing, fears of adults and authority, not wanting to go to school, suddenly talking about a teacher that they have been getting special attention from, or when they return home with gifts or candy or money, parents should exercise caution and pay more attention.

(Illustration - natmac stock/Shutterstock)
(Illustration - natmac stock/Shutterstock)

Teaching kids to be safe is one thing. As for teaching them why they need to be safe, Ms. Dobson believes age plays a key role in knowing when to begin having more complex conversations.

“With my kids, when we’re in social settings, I like to ask them who they think is safe, I like to ask them who they think is creepy, and also if something happened, what would they do? Where would they go? Who would they ask for help? I like to just keep them aware,” Ms. Dobson said.


Ms. Dobson has been working in the criminal justice system for 20 years. She was just 22 when she took on her first practical rotation at the Los Angeles County Jail and was “utterly terrified” for her first year, but she soon found her calling.

“I learned that there’s a sickness in the world that we don’t know about, that we don’t talk about,” she said. “I found it to be twofold. One, I could help people who were really, really mentally ill, and I could tolerate their stories and connect with them. Then two, I could protect the community from the people that should not get out, because I knew they would reoffend.”

(Illustrations - New Africa/Shutterstock)
(Illustrations - New Africa/Shutterstock)

Ms. Dobson classifies the pedophiles she has worked with into two main categories: those who had their own trauma or stunted emotional growth and find emotional connection with children, and those who are emotionally mature but fetishize children.

Working with the first category of offenders, Ms. Dobson has been able to use empathy and impulse control, as well as demonstrate how to build a healthy emotional connection with an adult in order to “shift that enjoyment away from children.” For any offender who does not reform, Ms. Dobson will recommend they remain incarcerated and in treatment.

For the second category, “treatment” equates to “consequences.”

Ms. Dobson said: “It’s very hard for them to build empathy and to ever work around this misconception in their mind so they need prison, they need ankle monitors, they need to register, they need to be kept away from children, and they need to be reminded of the consequences, which, inevitably, is prison.”

Since sharing her knowledge with the world on Instagram, Ms. Dobson has received an influx of support from grateful parents. She has also been surprised by some of the comments she’s received from a minority of people who believe that America is an “overly anxious,” society.

“You can never underestimate how dangerous people are,” Ms. Dobson said. “We can protect our children and know a little bit, but ... parents need to be educated on how twisted the mind can become in an individual.”

However, Ms. Dobson says that she loves engaging in conversations with people and others follow with comments and provide feedback.

“I love the conversations that start because we are giving a space for people all over the world to talk about these big issues,” she said.

Watch the video:

(Courtesy of Leslie Dobson)
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Louise Chambers is a writer, born and raised in London, England. She covers inspiring news and human interest stories.
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