This paper reviews the social constructions of the paedophile as these are embodied in clinical and journalistic discourses. It considers how these discourses have influenced community perceptions of risk and professional responses to the concerns they portray. It then locates these professional constructions within a context of hegemonic masculinity and unsafe families. It concludes that community safety is not adequately addressed by professional assessments of risk that focus primarily on the problems posed by known paedophiles. It is important to consider the problem of sexual violence in a much wider context that problematises the context in which sexual abuse occurs.

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