xchanges between the community and public agencies responsible for the management of sex offenders in the community are becoming increasingly frequent for many reasons:
- Now that every state has some form of Megan's Law requiring community notification of some type, there are many occasions where public agencies (police, prosecutors, corrections agencies, etc.) are required to provide information about individual sex offenders. They do this through a variety of methods, including door-to-door canvassing, community meetings, and the development and distribution of printed notices.
- As more comprehensive and collaborative approaches to the management of sex offenders who are in the community emerge and come into practice, community members, victims, victims' families, offenders' families, and others are being invited to become partners in these management approaches.
- As knowledge about the extensive occurrence of sexual assault becomes more widespread, the agencies responsible for sex offender management are beginning to recognize that community notification meetings and interactions with individual community members become opportunities to engage in sexual abuse prevention activities; to connect sexual assault victims with services; and, generally, to advance a community's ability to understand and protect itself from sexual abuse and its trauma.
Of course, opportunities to interact with communities on this topic are highly site-specific. They require extraordinary sensitivity to the particular context and the needs of individuals, families, neighborhoods, and communities. As such, a good deal of care must be taken in planning any community education initiative.
This website contains a complete, ready-to-use curriculum on community education, with lecture notes, slides, learning activities, and handouts. In order to accommodate the need to tailor every community event, it has been designed as a "menu" of materials from which you may select some items and not others. This will allow you to customize the events that you conduct to meet your particular needs. The materials in this curriculum may be used to convene:
- A meeting with a neighborhood watch group, or a group interested generally in community safety issues;
- A meeting to notify the community regarding an individual sex offender's presence in a particular neighborhood;
- A meeting to educate a community and/or other stakeholders regarding sexual violence and sex offender management programs; or
- A meeting specifically designed to encourage community members to support and become involved in a comprehensive sex offender management program.
There are four sections in this curriculum:
You will find additional background information and a summary of the contents of this website under the Curriculum Overview menu on the top navigation bar above. If you'd like to go directly to a detailed table of contents for each of the four curriculum sections, click on Outline in the left hand column of this page.
- What Community Members Need to Know about Sexual Assault and Sex Offenders
- Conducting a Community Notification
- Managing Sex Offenders
- The Role of the Community
The User's Guide offers details on the design and organization of the curriculum, as well as specific guidance on working with its format. You will find information on how each of the sections is designed to meet certain goals and objectives, and techniques for putting together an effective training session for a community-based audience. The User's Guide also contains an Evaluation Form which can be used as is or adapted to your particular training agenda. Information on these topics can be found under the User's Guide menu on the top navigation bar above.
Special Considerations for Community Education
Community education is different from professional training in many important ways. Regardless of the specific topic - whether general issues in sex offender management or the release of a specific offender to the community - community-based audiences will have different needs and expectations than your typical audience of professionals. Issues that need to be considered include: providing support for victims who may be in the audience; the composition of the training team; how to plan and prepare for the presentation; and the timing and location of the meetings. Information on each of these topics can be found under the Special Considerations menu on the top navigation bar above.