The Trainer should be
prepared to field many questions from participants about their role in the management of sex offenders, and about the specific practices in place in this jurisdiction. Allow time for discussion.
TOPIC: HOW CAN COMMUNITY MEMBERS HELP SUPPORT THE GOALS OF SEX OFFENDER MANAGEMENT? (5 minutes)
Community members may be involved in the following ways:
Accept that sex offenders will and do live in communities. As has been stated repeatedly today, it is not feasible to incarcerate all offenders for life. Therefore, we must recognize that sex offenders living among us is a fact of life and we should be proactive in responding to that fact.
Understand that safely supervising sex offenders in communities is complex but necessary. The strategies that are emerging as promising for preventing individual offenders from reoffending are not simple. Unfortunately, there is no single solution for ending sexual assault.
Refrain from ostracizing sex offenders or their families. When sex offenders or their families are ostracized, the stress that is created can only slow their progress in treatment and may jeopardize their willingness to comply with registration laws and/or conditions of supervision.
Use available channels for expressing concerns. If community members have a concern about a particular sex offender, the information should be brought to the attention of the offender's supervision officer or other legal authorities immediately. If there is not a satisfactory response, call on the officer's supervisor. Attempts to confront, harass, or shame a sex offender into compliance can backfire. First, such efforts often have as great an impact on innocent family members as they do on the offender; and second, the kind of stress, fear, and humiliation of such experiences can increase the possibility of reoffense.
Educate yourself and loved ones about the dangers of sexual assault. As was discussed earlier, many of us as parents and as women hold fears about sexual assault that are based on misconceptions. To protect yourself and loved ones it is important that you know what the actual dangers are.
Help to educate neighbors and friends, in an attempt to give the sex offender a better chance at successful reintegration. It is essential, given the breadth of sexual assault, that sex offenders be given the tools and support to reintegrate and contribute productively to society.
Assist key personnel in monitoring the offender's behavior and actions while residing in a community. This is not to put community members in a supervisory role, but to empower them to take responsibility for their community's safety as well as the offender's attempts to reintegrate into society in a safe and healthy manner. This work must be done in close collaboration with the community supervision agency, where such programs exist.