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Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse

Keyword: sex offender registry

Be sure to watch this remarkable debate on abolishing the sex offender registry hosted by the Reason Foundation. The debate was part of Reason’s Soho Forum, which organizes debates that asks audience members to vote for the most compelling argument. The debate took place February 12, 2018 at the Subculture Theater in Manhattan.

The debaters were Emily Horowitz, chair of the sociology and criminal justice department at St. Francis College, who supports abolishing the registry, and Marci Hamilton, CEO and academic director at Child USA, an interdisciplinary think tank to prevent child abuse and neglect, who argued for the registry.

Don’t have time to watch? Here’s a great recap by journalist Steven Yoder.

researchRecently, an article that I wrote with Ryan Shields, PhD, my colleague at the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, along with Andrew Harris, PhD, and Scott Walfield from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, was published in Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment.

The article, “Collateral Consequences of Juvenile Sex Offender Registration and Notification: Results from a Survey of Treatment Providers,” examines treatment providers’ perceptions of the consequences that result from including youth on sex offender registries. There were five key areas where we believed consequences might occur: mental health, harassment, school problems, living instability and risk of re-offending.

Three important themes emerged: 1) treatment providers overwhelmingly believe there are negative consequences associated with youth being registered, 2) the negative effects were associated more with notification than registration, which supports earlier studies that found public shaming increases the stigma of sexual offending and leads to depression, stress and isolation, and 3) providers’ negative perceptions were not influenced by their demographics, education level, etc., suggesting that concern about the potential harm of registering youth is prevalent.

To read the article in full, please visit the Sage Publications website.

PennsylvaniaRecently, I was contacted by a reporter from Bloomberg Businessweek to comment on the recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that lifetime sex offender registration for juveniles is unconstitutional. Click here to read the court's opinion. 

My research was cited in the lower court's opinion and a colleague who has been shepherding this particular court case sent me the findings yesterday.

Please read the Bloomberg Businessweek article: Pennsylvania's Juvenile Sex Offender Registry Is Unconstitutional, State Supreme Court Rules.