Laws and policies are most effective at preventing sexual abuse and making society safer when they are based on sound research and data. Too frequently, laws and policies are reactive, and are developed in response to a traumatic, well-publicized event, rather than based on evidence of effectiveness. 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 supports the development of research-informed and evidence-based laws and policies, and works to educate and advise decision makers 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 believes it is particularly important that public policy be informed by research, evaluation, and results.
The following are ATSA’s major activities directed toward supporting informed public policy.
This section includes guidance on effective public policy strategies as well as legislative and court responses addressing best practice standards.
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.
ATSA endeavors to provide accurate information related to key sex offender management strategies such as the civil commitment of individuals who have sexually offended. While not attempting to debate the overall merits of such a strategy, ATSA has produced a series of educational briefs that identify the salient issues including controversies related to this topic. Our goal is to provide information related to the implications of the sex offender treatment and management literature for this strategy.