UCL News


UCL in the News: How do you deal with sex offenders, and does 'chemical castration' work?

14 June 2007

Why are we asking this now? John Reid, the Home Secretary, announced a "radical" package of proposals yesterday to protect young people from paedophiles.

As part of the package, he announced trials of drugs to be given to paedophiles to reduce their sex drives. Some have described this as "chemical castration". …

Should we call this 'chemical castration'?

No, according to Professor John Guillebaud [UCL Obstetrics & Gynaeocology]. Although the term is in widespread use, he says it is stigmatising. "It is a pharmacological way of diminishing an abnormal sex drive. There is a reverse kind of sexism here which fails to recognise that all men, like women, are driven to some degree - and some men to a dangerous degree - by their hormones. As a gynaecologist, I am often asked by women to manipulate their hormones, to help them, for example, with severe period pains. Male sex offenders could choose to have an injection which would enable them to have a fairly normal life without this dominating sex drive." …

Jeremy Laurance, 'The Independent'