Fast Facts About Recidivism Among Individuals Who Have Sexually Offended
Fact 1: Once a sex offender, rarely again a sex offender.
The average recidivism rate for people who have sexually offended is approximately 7%, lower than for any crime but murder.
Fact 2: Sex offender registries and residence restrictions do not help lower the sexual re-offense rate.
Because the rate of re-offense by people who have sexually abused someone is so low, registries do not generally help drive it lower. In addition, most registries are based on preventing stranger-on-stranger sexual abuse, which is extremely rare. Most sexual assaults are committed by people known to the person who is sexually abused. Thus, registries do not necessarily target the people most likely to reoffend.
Fact 3: Failure to register as a sex offender does not correlate with higher recidivism.
Recent studies have found no link between the recidivism rates of people who meet all their registry obligations and those who do not.
Fact 4: Public registries do not necessarily make communities safer.
Instead of reducing sexual abuse, registries and residence restrictions primarily make it harder for the individual who committed a sexual offense to become a productive member of the community. The impact of such restrictions typically is to increase homelessness and dependency on social services rather than to enable individuals to become independent, employed, tax-paying citizens. Some studies have found that sex offenders who are placed on public registries actually display a slightly higher rate of recidivism than sex offenders who are not listed on public registries.
Fact 5: Wraparound services can help prevent recidivism.
Experience with programs in Canada and some U.S. states shows that individuals who have sexually offended are more likely to successfully and safely reintegrate into their communities when they receive assistance finding housing, jobs, transportation, and treatment. These kinds of social supports help drive down the already low recidivism rates among people who have sexually abused others.
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The following citations reflect research, publications, and presentations by current ATSA members.
- Desistance from sexual and other violent offending among child sexual abusers: Observations using the Sex Offender Treatment Intervention and Progress Scale (SOTIPS): Lasher & McGrath (2017)
- Evaluation of New York State's sex offender civil management assessment process recidivism outcomes: Sandler & Freeman (2017)
- Multiple indicators of sexual interest in prepubescent or pubescent children as predictors of sexual recidivism: Stephens, Cantor, Goodwill, & Seto (2017)
- Reductions in risk based on time offense-free in the community: Once a sexual offender, not always a sexual offender: Hanson, Harris, Letourneau, Helmus, & Thornton (2017)
- The pursuit of primary human goods in men desisting from sexual offending: Harris, Pedneault, & Willis (2017)
- A descriptive model of desistance from sexual offending: Harris (2016)
- Community protection policies and repeat sexual offenses in Florida: Levenson & Zgoba (2016)
- The relationship between victim age, gender, and relationship to polymorphism and sexual recidivism: Stephens, Seto, Goodwill, & Cantor (2016)
- Adolescents auteurs d'abus sexuels: Recidive et facteurs associes: Carpentier & Proulx (2015)
- Does change in hostility predict sexual recidivism?: Pettersen, Nunes, Woods, Maimone, Hermann, Looman, & Spape (2015)
- Predicting reoffense in pedophilic child molesters by clinical diagnoses and risk assessment: Eher, Olver, Heurix, Schilling, & Rettenberger (2015)
- Predictors of sexual recidivism: An updated meta-analysis 2004-02: Hanson & Morton-Bourgon (2015)
- Sex offender modus operandi stability and relationship with actuarial risk assessment: Lasher, McGrath, & Cumming (2015)
- The relationship between mental disorder and recidivism in sexual offenders: Kingston, Olver, Harris, Wong, & Bradford (2015)
- Age, actuarial risk, and long-term recidivism in a national sample of sex offenders: Nicholaichuk, Olver, Gu, & Wong (2014)
- An exploration of protective factors supporting desistance from sexual offending: Robbe, Mann, Maruna, & Thornton (2014)
- A prospective investigation of factors that predict desistance from recidivism for adolescents who have sexually offended: Worling & Langton (2014)
- Does change on the MOLEST and RAPE scales predict sexual recidivism?: Nunes, Pettersen, Hermann, Looman, & Spape (2014)
- High-risk sex offenders may not be high risk forever: Hanson, Harris, Helmus, & Thornton (2014)
- Predicting recidivism in sex offenders with the Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Styles (PICTS: Walters, Deming, & Casbon (2014)
- Age, actuarial risk, and long-term recidivism in a national sample of sex offenders: Nicholaichuk, Olver, Gu, & Wong (2013)
- A multisite examination of sexual violence risk and therapeutic change: Olver, Nicholaichuk, Kingston, & Wong (2013)
- Community re-entry and the path toward desistance: A quasi-experimental longitudinal study of dynamic factors and community risk management of adult sex offenders: Lussier & Zabarauckas (2013)
- Hypersexuality and recidivism among sexual offenders: Kingston & Bradford (2013)
- Risk reduction treatment of high-risk psychopathic offenders: The relationship of psychopathy and treatment change to violent recidivism: Olver, Lewis, & Wong (2013)
- Sex offenders and sex crime recidivism: Investigating the role of sentence length and time served: Budd & Desmond (2013)
- A multi-state recidivism study using Static-99R and Static-2002 risk scores and tier guidelines from the Adam Walsh Act: Zgoba, Miner, Knight, Letourneau, Levenson, & Thornton (2012)
- Can general stain theory be used to explain recidivism among registered sex offenders?: Ackerman & Sacks (2012)
- Child pornography offender characteristics and risk to reoffend: Seto & Psych (2012)
- Contributory qualifying and non-qualifying triggers in the loss of control defence: A wrong turn on sexual infidelity: Baker & Zhao (2012)
- Effectiveness of residence restrictions in preventing sex offense recidivism: Nobles, Levenson, & Youstin (2012)
- Failure to register as a predictor of sex offense recidivism: The big bad wolf or a red herring?: Zgoba & Levenson (2012)
- Failure-to-register laws and public safety: An examination of risk factors and sex offense recidivism: Levenson, Sandler, & Freeman (2012)
- The role of central and peripheral hormones in sexual and violent recidivism in sex offenders: Kingston, Seto, Ahmed, Fedoroff, Firestone, & Bradford (2012)
- A meta-analysis of predictors of offender treatment attrition and its relationship to recidivism: Olver, Stockdale, & Wormith (2011)
- An assessment of long-term risk of recidivism by adult sex offenders: One size doesn't fit all: Parent, Guay, & Knight (2011)
- Correlates of recidivism among adolescents who have sexually offended: Carpentier & Prouix (2011)
- Locus of control, coping, and sexual offenders: Cortoni, Anderson, & Bright (2011)
- Recidivism among treated sexual offenders and comparison subjects: Recent outcome data from the Regional Treatment Centre (Ontario) High-Intensity Sex Offender Treatment Programme: Abracen, Looman, Ferguson, Harkins, & Mailloux (2011)
- Substance abuse among high-risk sexual offenders: Do measures of lifetime history of substance abuse add to the prediction of recidivism over actuarial risk assessment instruments?: Looman & Abracen (2011)
- Comparing indicators of sexual sadism as predictors of recidivism among adult male sexual offenders: Kingston, Seto, Firestone, & Bradford (2010)
- Effects of South Carolina's sex offender registration and notification policy on adult recidivism: Letourneau, Levenson, Bandyopadhyay, Sinha, & Armstrong (2010)
- Effects of South Carolina's sex offender registration and notification policy on deterrence of adults sex crimes: Letourneau, Levenson, Bandyopadhyay, Armstrong, & Sinha (2010)
- Examining the influence of denial, motivation, and risk on sexual recidivism: Harkins, Beech, & Goodwill (2010)
- Evaluating the effectiveness of sex offender registration and notification policies for reducing sexual violence against women: Final Report for the National Institute of Justice: Letourneau, Bandyopadhyay, Sinha, & Armstrong (2010)
- Failure to register as a sex offender: Is it associated with recidivism?: Levenson, Letourneau, Armstrong, & Zgoba (2010)
- Recidivism among treated sexual offenders and comparison subjects: Recent outcome data from the Regional Treatment Centre (Ontario) high-intensity Sex Offender Treatment Programme: Abracen, Looman, Fergus, Harkins, & Mailloux (2010)
- Residential proximity to schools and daycares: An empirical analysis of sex offense recidivism: Zandbergen, Levenson, & Hart (2010)
- The recidivism rates of female sexual offenders are low: A meta-analysis: Cortoni, Hanson, & Coache (2010)
- Aging versus stable enduring traits as explanatory constructs in sex offender recidivism: Barbaree, Langton, Blanchard, & Cantor (2009)
- Factors associated with sexual recidivism: Cortoni (2009)
- Failure to register: An empirical analysis of sex offense recidivism: Levenson, Letourneau, Armstrong, & Zgoba (2009)
- Recidivism in pedophiles: An investigation using different diagnostic methods: Moulden, Firestone, Kingston, & Bradford (2009)
- Sex offense recidivism, risk assessment, and the Adam Walsh Act: Levenson (2009)
- The influence of sex offender registration on juvenile sexual recidivism: Letourneau, Bandyopadhyay, Sinha, & Armstrong (2009)
- Therapeutic responses of psychopathic sexual offenders: Treatment attrition, therapeutic change, and long-term recidivism: Olver & Wong (2009)
- Dropout from sex-offender treatment and dimensions of risk of sexual recidivism: Nunes & Cortoni (2008)
- Factors associated with recidivism among intrafamilial child molesters: Kingston, Firestone, Wexler, & Bradford (2008)
- Pornography use and sexual aggression: The impact of frequency and type of pornography use on recidivism among sexual offenders: Kingston, Fedoroff, Firestone, Curry, & Bradford (2008)
- Predicting recidivism in sex offenders using the SVR20: The contribution of age-at-release: Barbaree, Langton, Blanchard, & Boer (2008)
- Recidivism rates for registered and nonregistered juvenile sexual offenders: Letourneau & Armstrong (2008)
- Sexual reconviction rates in the UK and actuarial risk estimates: Craig, Browne, Stringer, & Hogue (2008)
- The quality of community reintegration planning for child molesters effects on sexual recidivism: Willis & Grace (2008)
- Variations in the recidivism of treated and nontreated sexual offenders in New Jersey: An examination of three time frames: Zgoba & Levenson (2008)
- Actuarial assessment of risk for reoffense among adult sex offenders: Langton, Barbaree, Seto, Peacock, Harkins, & Hansen (2007)
- Denial predicts recidivism for some sexual offenders: Nunes, Hanson, Firestone, & Bradford (2007)
- Predicting recidivism in sex offenders using the VRAG and SORAG: The contribution of age-at-release: Barbaree, Langton, & Blanchard (2007)
- The relationship of statistical and psychological risk markers to sexual reconviction in child molesters: Craig, Thornton, Beech, & Browne (2007)
- A dynamic assessment of offender risk, needs, and strengths in a sample of pre-release general offenders: Miller (2006)
- Age and sexual recidivism: A variable connection: Thornton (2006)
- Psychopathy, sexual deviance, and recidivism among sex offenders: Olver & Wong (2006)
- Relapse prevention for sexual offenders: Considerations for the "abstinence violation effect": Wheeler, George, & Marlatt (2006)
- Sex offenders' response to treatment and its association with recidivism as a function of psychopathy: Langton, Barbaree, Harkins, & Peacock (2006)
- A review of the recidivism rates of adult female sexual offenders: Cortoni & Hanson (2005)
- Psychopathy, treatment change, and recidivism in high-risk, high-need sexual offenders: Looman, Abracen, Serin, & Marquis (2005)
- The characteristics of persistent sexual offenders: A meta-analysis of recidivism studies: Hanson & Morton-Bourgon (2005)
- Pretreatment self-esteem and posttreatment sexual recidivism: Thornton, Beech, & Marshall (2004)
- Distinguishing and combining risks for sexual and violent recidivism: Thornton, Mann, Webster, Blud, Travers, Friendship, & Erikson (2003)
- Dimensions associated with assessments of sex offender recidivism riskhttps://www.researchgate.net/publication/240281501_Dimensions_Associated_with_Assessments_of_Sex_Offender_Recidivism_Risk: Roberts, Doren, & Thornton (2002)
- Factors associated with recidivism in juveniles: An analysis of serious juvenile sex offenders: Miner (2002)
- Offender treatment attrition and its relationship with risk, responsivity, and recidivism: Wormith & Olver (2002)
- Recidivism among treated sexual offenders and matched controls: Data from the Regional Treatment Centre (Ontario): Looman, Abracen, & Nicholaichuk (2000)
- Psychopathy, treatment behavior, and sex offender recidivism: Seto & Barbaree (1999)
- Predicting sex offender recidivism: Hanson (1998)