A high school teacher in New South Wales, Eric Wong, who was previously sentenced to prison for secretly filming up the skirts of his female students, has had his sentence overturned on appeal. The judge ruled that Wong, who suffers from voyeuristic disorder, would not receive the necessary treatment for his condition in prison. Instead, a two-year intensive correction order, a custodial sentence served in the community, was deemed more beneficial for community safety.
Voyeuristic disorder is recognized as a condition in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) and the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10). It falls under the category of paraphilic disorders, which are characterized by deviant sexual arousal. Dr Richard Furst, a forensic psychiatrist, explains that paraphilias often result in impairment or clinically significant distress.
Voyeuristic disorder specifically involves intense sexual arousal from watching an unsuspecting person who is naked, getting undressed, or engaging in sexual activity. The key aspect is that the other party is unaware of being observed. Acting on these urges or experiencing clinically significant distress, such as legal issues or problems in relationships or the workplace, are important factors in diagnosing the disorder.
Prof Jayashri Kulkarni, a psychiatrist at Monash University, notes that voyeuristic disorder is a controversial area due to the distinction between what is considered a disorder and what is considered criminal behavior.