For years, we have all been reactive to an ever increasing list of policies that affect adult sex offenders as well as children and adolescents who have sexual behavior problems. Over the past year, MASOC and MATSA have been working hard to educate policy makers about:
Problem: Policies are often implemented without asking the important question - does this policy have any evidence for making our communities safer?
Progress: We have been seeing a slow shift among among many policy makers towards asking whether any proposed legislation or regulation is based in research and/or proven to be effective.
Problem: Adult sex offenders MUST be treated differently than teens or children with sexual behavior problems.
Progress: Research has shown how children or adolescents who sexually abuse are markedly different from adult sex offenders. We are collaborating with a number of groups to begin to align Massachusetts with the progress made in many other parts of the country.
Problem: There is very little investment in preventing sexual violence and not enough of our resources are invested in treatment for victims and survivors of sexual violence.
Progress: We are fortunate to have many victim based organizations working with us to ensure that we continue to bring both of these issues into discussion with legislators, public administrators and other key stakeholders.
Focus of our work in Massachusetts
Our current “one-size- fits all” approach to sex offender policy fails to recognize the fundamental developmental differences between adults and adolescents/children that have guided our criminal justice responses for several decades. It also fails to acknowledge and integrate the volume of scientific research that clearly delineates the neurological, social, and environmental factors that influence adolescent and child behavior in a manner that is notably different from adults.
MASOC’s policy work aims to educate legislators, policy makers, clinicians, case managers, and other professionals about the need to provide different standards for care, different treatment and management options, and different policies for youth that are distinctly different from what is offered and mandated for adults.
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Sex Offender Management Assessment and Planning Initiative (SOMAPI)
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs
Recognizing the important role scientific evidence plays in the assessment and treatment of adults and adolescents who have sexually abused, the SMART Office developed the Sex Offender Management Assessment and Planning Initiative (SOMAPI). This project is designed to assess the current state of research and practice in sex offender management and as a result, offers an excellent summary of what is known as well as key recommendations for professionals in this field.
Considering Family Reconnection and Reunification after Child Sexual Abuse: A Road Map for Advocates and Service Providers
Joan Tabachnik and Peter Pollard
This guide is written for sexual assault program advocates working with families who are considering reunification with someone who has sexually offended. It provides an overview of the reunification process and how to navigate the process of clarification, reconnection, and reunification.