Module 3: Triggers


This module aims to help you explore and gain understanding of the following:

  • Understanding of the different types of triggers
  • Your own triggers

Download module as a PDF.

What can trigger the urge to offend?

The concept of trigger has different names: e.g. cue, prompt, call to action and so on. Triggers are what precede thoughts, feelings and behaviour and can lead to emotional and behavioural responses.

There are different types of triggers:

Internal triggers:

Including thoughts, feelings and attitudes linked to lifestyle problems. Examples of Internal emotional triggers are feeling discontented, frustrated, bored, resentful, stressed and anxious.

External triggers:

These are like an alarm sounding- it could be something seen or heard. They can be situational and come from our daily routines e.g. walking through the kitchen may trigger us to open the fridge; going onto adult pornography websites may trigger sexual thoughts about accessing sexual images of children.  

Physical triggers:

These can be drugs, medication, substance misuse and environmental factors e.g. having alcohol with friends can trigger the urge to smoke or seeing a pop up for pornography can trigger wanting to access a website containing sexual images of children.

Triggers often feature at the beginning of the cycle of offending and can prompt behavioural responses so being aware of your triggers is essential in increasing the ability to stop the cycle at the earliest opportunity.

On the worksheet identify your triggers under the headings- internal (including emotional), external (including sights and sounds), physical (including any drug or alcohol use). It is likely that you will have a number of triggers, sometimes these will work in isolation, other times it will be a combination.

Internal External Physical
Lonely Pop-ups Drinking alcohol

Download printable template >


Can you help us improve the effectiveness of this website?

It is very important to us that this website is as effective as possible in supporting people to make important changes in their lives. The most important feedback we can receive is from users of the website themselves, to help us understand if the site is really helping people to stop looking at sexual images of children. We would therefore be very grateful if you could spare about 10-15 minutes to complete our survey. If you do not have time to complete the survey now, please do come back to it later. There are other links to the survey throughout the site.

To take the survey, please click here. Thank you. 


…you would start looking at legal adult pornography but then the amount of time you would spend it would just lead you down that path again…


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