Book Review: Identifying Child Molesters: Preventing Child Sexual Abuse by Recognizing the Patterns of the Offenders. By Carla van Dam. New York: Haworth, 2001, 229 pages.

Date01 May 2003
Published date01 May 2003
AuthorBernadette Olson
Subject MatterReview
merely symptoms of largersocial and economic problems in a community. Although I
appreciate the metaphor, labeling it as theory without any effort to at least caution
about its validity makes the book less usable. Similarly,at the beginning of the book
(p. 6), the authors reference Klockars’ observationthat police have the “right” to use
coercive force. Well, no theydo not. Individual citizens have rights, professions do
not. Moreover,rights are those values that can be asserted against the government, not
the other way around. Officers have a limited legal authority to employ force, an
authority granted by the people. This may seem like a picky argument,but I doubt that
constitutional scholars such as Lawrence Tribe would find it so. Finally, they make
reference to Maslow’s hierarchy(p. 213) without noting that (a) Maslow never actu-
ally used the term and that (b) no study has yet supported the theory with empirical
evidence. Some argue one cannot falsify the theory, thus making it a bad theory.
Similarly,the work of Herzberg as an extension of Maslow (p. 214) has come under
fire because no one has been able to replicate Herzberg’s findings,although many
have tried. I do not quibble with the use of theory.I employ them in courses I teach.
But, I would prefer some reference to the questions that arise from theory,at least for
In sum, I say again that the book is well written, well referenced, and organized
around a useful framework that is largely carried throughout the text.I like the heavy
reliance on theory and, in the appropriate setting, would likely use the text. However,
its reliance on heavy theory and its reluctance to expose the limitations of current the-
ory or efforts to extend theory make the book less useable for lowercapacity students
and more problematic for higher level students who are learning theory.
— Gregory D. Russell
Arkansas State University
Identifying Child Molesters: Preventing Child SexualAbuse by Recognizing
the Patternsof the Offenders. By Carla van Dam. New York:Haworth, 2001,
229 pages.
DOI: 10.1177/1043986203251079
Identifying Child Molesters provides a very useful and insightful framework for
recognizing potential child sexual offenders. Carla van Dam, an experiencedclinical
and forensic psychologist, offers the knowledge and resources to protect children
from sexual predators while also providing tools for early intervention by breaking
down and explaining the specific and recognizable behavioral patterns of those who
offend. After extensivereview of this text, I would recommend its use for almost any-
one involvedin the lives of young people, as it clearly relays invaluable knowledge. I
would hesitate to recommend this book for strict classroom use, as it would seem
more appropriate as a book offered to nonprofessionals—employers, parents, school
personnel, or others interested in maintaining healthy and safe environments for chil-
dren. If, however,it is used as a supplemental text in criminal justice or counseling-

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