News / Ottawa

Self-referrals for sexual behaviour treatment increasing, says The Royal

More people are talking to their doctors seeking referrals to The Royal’s sexual behaviours clinic to receive treatment for sexually deviant behaviour such as exhibitionism, voyeurism and pedophilia, says a clinic coordinator in the forensic treatment unit.

Lisa Murphy said in the last five years there has been an increase in self-referrals from concerned individuals who were not sent there by the courts.

“We are seeing people come in and say they either went to their doctor and got a doctor referral or they contacted the clinic and said, ‘I have these interests, I don’t want to have these interests, I don’t want to act on them, I need help,’” said Murphy.

“That’s obviously ideal for us in that we are able to see these individuals that have these interests before they go ahead and act on them and create a victim.”

 Lisa Murphy, sexual behaviours clinic coordinator. (Contributed)

Lisa Murphy, sexual behaviours clinic coordinator. (Contributed)

It’s this increase that has got The Royal's staff thinking of ways to ramp up prevention efforts and create more awareness about the services available for people who want help curbing their sexual interests.

Murphy will be speaking Thursday about the clinic and Canada’s approach to the sex offender registry at a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Paul Fedoroff, director of the sexual behaviours clinic. Staff Sgt. Dana Reynolds and Det. Mark Horton of Ottawa police will also speak to their experiences of managing of high risk offenders.

Since its inception in 1983, the sexual behaviours clinic has treated more than 4,100 people and nowadays, it typically sees 100 new men each year.

Since Dr. Fedoroff took over the clinic, no one who has received treatment after committing sexual abuse has gone on to reoffend, according to Murphy.

Treatment can range from group therapy sessions, testosterone blocking medication, and psychiatric sessions, to support from social workers.

Murphy suspects the recent surge in self-referrals might have to do with a societal acceptance that not all child abusers are "monsters," and in some cases they don't want to hurt children.

“More people are finding out that this treatment is out there,” said Murphy, “and I also think that more people are finding that we are saying, ‘you’re not unfixable.’”

More information about the panel discussion is available at

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