Public notification laws have been enacted by legislatures to address the risk posed by sex offenders to the public. Little research has been done regarding either the public’s or sex offenders’ knowledge and attitudes about community notification and its impact. This study compared the experiences and perceptions of 125 sex offenders in outpatient treatment to 193 members of the public in Brevard County, Florida. Sex offenders were significantly more likely to believe that community notification laws and society are unfair, to feel that such laws should be applied to fewer sex offenders based on their level of risk or threat, and to view notification as being ineffective at reducing sex crimes. Nearly half of the offenders reported experiencing threats, property damage, or physical assault as a result of public disclosure. In comparison, only 10% of the public was aware of vigilantism against sex offenders. Implications for public policy and future research are discussed.
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 9, 2007
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