Sexual abuse is a public health issue that impacts everyone – individuals, communities, businesses, institutions, and society as a whole. Assessment, treatment, and management strategies as well as laws and policies should strive to help promote long-term community safety and prevent future victimization by preventing sexual abuse and supporting the rehabilitation of individuals who offend.

Laws and policies are most effective at preventing sexual abuse and making society safer when they are based on sound research and data. ATSA supports educational efforts to assist decision makers in the development of research-informed and evidence-based laws and policies that have proved to be effective in preventing sexual abuse.

Too frequently, laws and policies are reactive, and are developed in response to a traumatic, well-publicized event, rather than based on data. While such events demand a response, the response needs to be implemented in a balanced and informed manner that accomplishes the goal of making society safer and avoiding future victimization, while at the same time minimizing unintended negative consequences for the perpetrators such as homelessness and lack of employment opportunities.

ATSA’s goal is to provide information and guidance on best practice standards related to the assessment, treatment, and management of individuals who have sexually abused or are at risk to abuse.  Given the devastating impact of sexual abuse on individuals and communities, ATSA advocates for laws and policies that are informed by research, evaluation, and best practices to strengthen public safety. 

This section includes guidance on effective public policy strategies (see A Reasoned Approach) for the prevention of sexual abuse, as well as legislative and court responses addressing best practice standards.

Visit the Public Policy Papers Page for more information.

This section includes information about sexual abuse, sexual offending, and prevention specifically designed for media professionals.

Visit the Media Resources page for more information.

Professionals who treat and research sexual offenders have considerable insight to offer society. Their expertise enhances our understanding of the problem, as well as fostering the most effective treatment and management of offenders in the community.


Visit the Fact Sheets page to access ATSA's Public Policy Fact Sheets.


2018 Call for Abstracts