Episode 34 - Dr. Sarah Craun: Evaluating the Efficacy of Sexual Offender Registries

Monday, November 30, 2009, 9:41:35 AM

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In this episode, Dr. Sarah Craun discusses Megan's law and what she is learning about sexual offender registries' usefulness in raising awareness and protecting the public.

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Average Rating: 4stars  appreciating the neutrality, Tuesday, January 17, 2012

By Jennifer Lohss :

I appreciate the neutrality attitude that Dr. Craun brings to the table in regard to sex offenders. I am what she refers to as "a supporter to sex offenders". Let me make a point clear though before I continue. I believe that there is a huge difference between child molesters and sexual predators versus sex offenders. I have quite a few friends (yes friends) of mine that have been labeled as sex offenders and yet these PEOPLE have just had a mistake in their past. I believe when we label these PEOPLE and post their faces all over the registries it tends to cause major problems. We all know the type of people that look at those registries consistently and print pictures and addresses out just to go bother the sex offenders and make life even harder. On this hand, these registries are a bad idea. However, on the other hand, when people are just using these registries to stay informed, then I believe that they are alright. It's okay to want to stay informed, but at whose cost? Do you know that in certain states, you can be considered a sex offender just for urinating outside? It's true! So, I believe that only certain levels of offenders should be on this list. I also believe that these registries should still only remain in the hands of law enforcement due to the amount of uneducated people in this country. Like Dr. Craun stated in this podcast, the majority of sex offenders do live in the poorer sections of town. Why? Because of the lack of jobs and housing that are available to convicted sex offenders. The treatment towards sex offenders in my eyes is a HUGE social injustice!!

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Average Rating: 5stars  the many sides of the issue, Monday, January 16, 2012

By Natalie Tafoya :

I liked that Dr. Craun was able to discuss the many sides of the issues of sex offenders. Not many people realize that there is another side to this issue, like the effect on the sex offenders, and the reality that a stranger is not the likey person who commits sexual assault against children. I also have to agree with the education part of the sexual assault, that the registry is just one facet, and educating and getting people aware of sex assault and other ways to prevent it.

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Average Rating: 5stars  review from a social work student at arizona state university, Monday, January 16, 2012

By Danielle Estrella :

This podcast caught my attention because of how controversial the issue of sex offenders and the availability of the lists of offenders in the area. I had no idea how many different policies have been put into effect in the past 20 years and how they have all changed the listings and who can view the lists. I enjoyed the question/answer format of this podcast. I also enjoyed the included sample that was conducted in an area which gives an idea of the average persons' knowledge. I did not realize you had to be convincted in order to be on the list, and I found it very interesting that people in the sample actually claimed they were familiar with a fictional policy. I agree completely with the podcast that the important steps for the future is to utilize these lists for safety purposes only and to use them appropriately and most effectively. Although these sex offender registry lists may encourage fear, they may also provide a source of awareness for communities to be safe and aware, not always fearful. All of the information in this podcast was very helpful and I learned many new things and my eyes have been opened to an entirely new field of social work, often one that is avoided and feared.

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Average Rating: 5stars  sex offenders registry, Sunday, January 15, 2012

By Kersten Thornton :

I found this podcast with Dr. Craun to be very informative and interesting. I learned many different features regarding sex offenders and registries. One of the most intriguing aspects of this podcast was regarding Megan’s Law, I did not know that a young girl in 1996 was murdered by a sex offender. This law came about by Megan’s parents stating, “If they had a list of registered sex offenders their daughter would still be alive”. Another fact I found very interesting was, there can be different levels of offenses and depending on the level of the sex offender’s violations made for differences in how often they had to register. The goal for the registry is to make people aware if they have any sex offenders in their surrounding neighborhood. However, Dr. Craun makes an appoint to mention that indeed it is informative parents still need to remind their children the importance of safety and how to protect themselves and what signs to look for.

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Average Rating: 4stars  evaluating the efficacy of sexual offender registries, Thursday, January 12, 2012

By Josh Inocencio :

I found this podcast with Dr. Craun was very interesting. The concept of registries causing unnecessary paranoia among the public was intriguing. Dr. Craun's research was very thorough and she had the knowledge to back up that research. I was disappointed that even after all that research and knowledge put forth by Dr. Craun, it was still inconclusive as to where sex offender registries stand today. The amount of good they do is not concrete. I didn't realize it before but it makes sense that registered sex offenders would live in poorer neighborhoods because any employer would see that and immediately not want to hire them. It reminded my that social workers have to remember to be impartial with their clients; whether they be first time offenders or repeat offenders.

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Average Rating: 5stars  evaluating the efficacy of sexual offender registries: seminar 10/28/2011, Friday, October 28, 2011

By Kerry Bauer :

I found various points of the podcast very interesting and I learned several different important aspects regarding sex offenders and registries. One thing that I found interesting is that sex offenses and registry regulations vary state by state.
I did not know about Megan’s Law and that it came about because a young girl that was murdered by a sex offender. It is tragic that this could have been prevented by a registry being accessible by the public.
I was surprised to find out that 95% of sex offenders were first time offenders in the research that the podcast referenced. Basically this indicates that the registry is not preventing the majority of the offenses.
The research was focused on the benefit of the public knowledge regarding registries. The intent of registry is to make sure that people in their neighborhoods are aware of sex offenders in their area. Surprisingly enough, the public tends to be more afraid of strangers in their neighborhood when in fact the majority of offenders are family members or someone that the family already knows.
The Dr Craun pointed out that the down side to the registry is that people will think that they are safe if they look at the registry when in fact they need to be aware of those around them and need to remember to continue to teach their children about how to protect themselves and what to look for. This is a fantastic point that is extremely important for social workers to remind the public of.

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Average Rating: 4stars  good research, Friday, October 28, 2011

By Lea A. :

I was interested in this podcast as I am now researching the Violence Against Women Act and am interested in sexual violence. I was impressed with Dr. Craun's research. I felt it was thorough and she brought up a number of good points regarding the effectiveness of sexual offender registries. I like how she brought up the point that it is not only the knowledge of an offender in your area that will protect from sexual viloence, but that they must be coupled with education on how to protect oneself from being offended. I also liked the question of whether the registries only increased anxiety about on stranger offenses, which are less likely than offenses by someone one knows and trusts.

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Average Rating: 5stars  insight on dr. craun's podcast, Monday, January 31, 2011

By Shawnte Wilson :

I found this podcast to be very interesting and I would say that I have to agree with Dr. Craun's statements. I think since sexual registries have become public information it has taken the edge off the fact that abusers are usually people we know, and placed this concept out of the mindsets of parents and children alike. Such conclusions are very disturbing because it shows that information that should be used to help protect our communities are actually causing people to become careless and feel as if the idea of abduction or abuse only lurks in the bushes. Although I believe that circulating registries are an important part of combating the problem, this information also needs to come with a reminder that abusers are usually those we know and to continue to encourage our kids that they must be aware at all times. Dr. Craun displayed great knowldge on this topic and her ideas that the sexual registry process needs to be changed was relevant and should be taken into consideration

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Average Rating: 5stars  episode 34, Saturday, January 29, 2011

By Katie Z :

I appreciated that the Living Proof series created this podcast in order to address the effectiveness of sex offender registries, something that is not often addressed in my social work courses. Dr. Craun raised many interesting points regarding misperceptions of these registries and their influence on public safety. Regardless of these, public access to this information remains popular with politicians and the general public.

Clearly, there is much work to be done regarding sexual offender rehabilitation and this podcast was able to bring to light some of the areas that need to be addressed, such as the need for awareness and safety education for parents. I think that the issue of sex offender rehabilitation is incredibly taboo in politics as well as in everyday life, which is unfortunate. Dr. Craun admits that best practices regarding registries are not yet set in stone, but avoiding the topic allows the existing systemic problems to persist and rather than generating the change necessary in order for progress to be made in preventing it.

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Average Rating: 5stars  interesting perspective , Friday, November 12, 2010

By Katrina :

I was drawn to this podcast because I worked for Big Brother Big Sister and we utilized these registries as part of our background checks on potential Big's. I felt they were necessary checks, but I also felt that the registries could be more effective. It was interesting to hear about the research that is going on to evaluate the effectiveness of these registries. It was always my default reaction to side with the children and families, and be angry at the perpetrators. After listening to this, and completing almost a semester of my first year in the social work program, I realize that as a social worker or policy maker one must consider both protecting children and giving rights to past offenders. I appreciate Dr. Craun shedding light on the importance of being able to see all sides of this issue, and updating us on new findings in research in this area.

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Average Rating: 4stars  brilliantly done! , Tuesday, November 02, 2010

By Roxanne :

This podcast shares a very honest assessment of how issues regarding sex offender registries need funding, more research, personnel, and an overall increase in resources to educate the public. Thank you very much!

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Average Rating: 5stars  sexual offender registry, Friday, July 23, 2010

By DeAnn S. :

I found this review to be completely informative. I don't believe that before listening to Dr. Craun that I had never even heard of Megan's law. However, I am completely aware of the existence sexual offender registries and in full support that they exist. I found each bit of this review to be interesting and thought provoking and find myself consumed with the thought of, "how could anyone think that a sexual offender registry should not exist?" It seems to me that it is an assett to families and childrens protection. The point that was made about who people believe to be sex offenders also grabs my attention. It is true that more sexual offenders are those in which people trust, not strangers. A professor of mine had once said, "If we could walk by strangers and know by the way they look that they are sexual offenders, then there would be no sexual offenders walking around." But the truth is that you can't pick a sexual offender out of a crowd by the way they look which is why I feel that it is imperative to have such a source to refer to such as a sexual offender registry. While the registry might not protect an individual from every sexual offender, it can protect against some, making safer enviornments for families and children.

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Average Rating: 4stars  sexual offenders, Thursday, July 22, 2010

By Marissa Howard :

Dr. Craun presented many valid and informative points throughout her podcast, regarding sexual offenders.
I enjoyed learning about how the policy and laws that have been put in place relate to this topic. I was not aware of the history behind the laws; Megan's and Adam Walsh's. Prior to listening to Dr. Craun's podcast I was unaware of the effects sexual registries may have upon offenders and the discrimination it can create. I liked how Dr. Craun compared the effects on sexual offenders but also, the victims effects. Sexual registries can be discriminatory toward offenders as Dr. Craun stated, many offenders live in poorer neighborhoods as it is difficult for them to find employment based on their pasts. As social workers, it is important to remain nonjudgmental and remain conscious of an individuals basic human rights despite their previous actions in life.

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Average Rating: 4stars  review of episode 34, Wednesday, July 21, 2010

By Matthew Druar :

This topic interests me because I will working with sexual offenders at my internship in the fall. Some studies show that sexual offender registries do not have a lot of impact on recidivism rates. She looks at how to better the policy of the registry, and to understand the best practice. She would like to look at email notification to see how it would better inform people within close proximity of sexual offenders. I liked how she looked at the registry in another direction as seen by the offenders. The registry can pose as a barrier when a sexual offender is looking to get their life back on track. She addresses that they are people too. And that both sides are understandable and social workers could have a conflict between personal beliefs and professional beliefs. I think one negative of the sexual offender registry is that it can create a false sense of security if there are no offenders that show up in a close proximity. Dr. Craun notes that there are sexual offenders that have not been convicted and others who have not committed yet but could in the future. I think it is up to the families to be aware through the use of the registry but to always practice safe ways of living.

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Average Rating: 5stars  sensitive and emotionally driven subject, Wednesday, May 26, 2010

By Naomi Cleveland :

Dr. Craun has offered an evaluation of an important topic for the population as a whole. I appreciate her reasearch in this area and her firm belief that both sides, those living in the same neighborhood as a sex offender and the sex offenders themselves, consist of individuals that have rights and needs that deserve be fulfilled. I agree that it is easier to see the registries as a necessary safeguard for families and the offenders as deserving of their fate. This can be seen, however, as tunnel vision and lacks compassion for those attempting recovery at a time when they need the support the most. An extremely sensitive and emotionally driven subject that needs devoted professionals, like Dr. Craun, to devote their time and expertise.

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Average Rating: 4stars  are we really protecting the public?, Monday, April 05, 2010

By wendy :

I think Dr. Craun's information on the sex offender's registry is a beginning at exposing a deeper problem. Her research on how most neighborhoods were not using the registry and were not aware of a sexual offender living within the vicinity can be seen in both a negative and positive light. Negatively, the community may still have a false sense of security as Dr. Craun illustrates in thinking that they are safe just due to a lack of knowledge. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if the sex offense is a low level offender, one that perhaps had a bad judgement call to have sex with a minor (ie. a 19 year old with a 16 year old) then it is nice for them to be able to integrate back into the community without the stigma of their crime being attached to them.

Research has shown a high recitivism rate in sexual offenders which is a scary thought for anyone who is concerned with children. Like many problems, the "it couldn't happen to me or mine" is often the case in communities until something does actually happen. A combination of general awareness and education on how to help yourself and your children protect themselves needs to happen. Most offenders groom their victims and befriend them or offer them something in exchange for going with them. Teaching our children not to be frightened but instead be alert and empowered is key. Also having neighborhood networks and meeting different families in your immediate neighborhood so you know who your children are around is important. Hopefully, Dr. Craun will continue her interest in this topic and lead the way in a macro level change that can make our children safer through the use of this tool as well as other interventions.

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Average Rating: 4stars  dr. craun podcast review, Sunday, March 28, 2010

By Allison :

This podcasts was interesting to me because I am out in the field everyday working with and around sex offenders all the time. I have experience working with registered offenders and victims of sexual abuse/assault. I often find it hard while working with registered offenders to locate housing and certain programs they may benefit from due to their status. I have also worked with children in my field placement that have been victims of these registered offenders. I think while working with registered sex offenders we have to remember to leave our bias to the side and focus on what our job role is. We are not the judge and jury in their cases so I feel it’s important not to pass judgment on either side of these sensitive cases.
I agree that the sex offender registries are important to have in place but if they are not utilized they hold little purpose. I use them as a service provider doing community work for safety and awareness. I also utilize them as a mother with two children. I feel as social workers we need to educate people about the registries and how to access them because they really don’t protect the public/communities against registered offenders but just provide awareness. I agree with Dr. Craun’s that there is still a lot that needs to be done in order to understand the effectiveness of the sex offender registry.

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Average Rating: 5stars  episode 34 review, Friday, February 26, 2010

By Sharron Ferdinand :

Dr. S. Craun’s podcast on sex offender registries is one of the most interesting podcasts I’ve reviewed thus far. Dr. Craun clearly outlined the evolution of sex offender registries, from being labeled as private tools to becoming public safety devices. She briefly touched on the habitation habits of sex offenders within specific socioeconomic classes and geographical locations; thus concluding that sex offender registries offer a false sense of safety for community members who, according to Dr. Craun do not access them to ensure their safety.

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Average Rating: 5stars  sexual offenders, Friday, February 26, 2010

By Jamie G :

In this podcast, Dr. Sarah Craun discusses Megan’s Law, and how it came about in the late 1990s. She also discusses her work regarding sexual offender registries’ and their usefulness in protecting the public. Dr. Craun talks about the Adam Walsh Act, which strengthened Megan’s Law by providing some uniformity between states. I was also glad that she clarified the levels that rate sexual offenders, 1 being the lowest, and three being the most significant.

I found a few points that Dr. Craun made very interesting. One being that sexual offenders are usually someone the person knows, and is not a stranger. Another point that she made is the fact that registries provide a “fake sense of security.” She made it clear that registries have the potential to help people to protect themselves, but it’s only part of it. People should still be educating and making people aware so they can take the preventative measures to keep themselves and their children safe. Another point that Dr. Craun made that was really an eye opener for me was the fact that registries only include offenders that were convicted, and that many offenders never are convicted. As social workers it’s important for us to help offenders to not reoffend. Registries and residential restrictions put a stigma on the offender which makes it difficult for them to start over and help themselves, they have no social support. We have to help them work their way towards recovery.

I found this podcast very informative. I did not know much information about Megan’s Law prior to listening and I never really thought about the usefulness of registries. I’m glad that I had to opportunity to listen and become more aware.

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Average Rating: 4stars  sex offender registry efficacy, Sunday, February 21, 2010

By Elizabeth Lyon :

I recently listened to this podcast for an assignment for my Interventions class. I chose this podcast specifically due to my interest in recidivism of sexual offending and parents' awareness of the closeness of sexual offenders to their neighborhoods. There is a vast growth of the need for protection of our children in regards to several situations that occur in their life, however one of the most potentially dangerous is the proximity of sexual offenders in our neighborhoods now that in more homes both parents are working and children are becoming more independent. I found Dr. Craun's podcast informative yet surprising. As protective as parents are, Dr. Craun mentioned how few understand or know just how close an offender can live to them, or that an offender could even be someone in their own family. Several articles I have read in regards to sexual abuse have often listed the offender as someone close to the victim or even a family member of the victim. Although Dr. Craun notes that funding for sexual offender registry studies is hard to come by, I feel that the information given in her podcast has the potential to open the eyes of listeners and understand that more work should be done in this field if only for more information for parents. I can say that I enjoyed that she did make mention to the fact that the sex offender laws are different in every state and also adhere to a tiered design. This is something I was unaware of, so I can only assume I am not the only one unaware. Unfortunate as it is that sex offender registries are necessary, they are in fact necessary as well as a useful tool for not only someone who currently has children, but a person who is considering children in the future. I assure you that she has opened my eyes to the registries as a single woman living alone and as a future mother and current aunt.

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Average Rating: 4stars  review - efficacy of sexual offender registries , Friday, February 19, 2010

By Meaghan E. :

As a Canadian, it was interesting to listen to this Podcast, as sex offender registries are not made public here in Canada – only police officers have access to them. Thus, listening to Dr. Craun discuss the efficacy of these registries allowed me to grasp a better understanding of them. I believe that sex offender registries are only a piece of the puzzle in terms of keeping communities safe. It was encouraging to hear that people are becoming increasingly more aware of utilizing sex offender registries to learn who is in their neighbourhood. Parents, schools, and communities must still take the initiative to educate children about maintaining safety, as not everyone may have direct access to these databases of offenders. Dr. Craun recognizes this issue, and discusses the important research that has been started in this field. She also highlights areas of research that must still be attended to in terms of the efficacy of sex offender databases.

In terms of relating this idea to social work, I believe that we must remember that sex offenders are people too and they will eventually be a part of our community again. Many are secluded from their communities, and lack the required social supports, which may increase the possibility that they will commit a sexual crime again. Ultimately, as Dr. Craun states, this makes recovery more difficult for offenders. Therefore, as a social worker when working with sex offenders it definitely becomes an ethical issue. I must maintain objectivity and examine their history and background, just as I would when working with any other individual. As stated, sex offenders eventually will be back in our communities, so it is imperative that we work with them towards recovery to address challenges and issues they may have, and also to keep our community and ourselves safe from future harm.

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Average Rating: 5stars  efficacy of registries, Friday, February 12, 2010

By Katie Ralicki :

As a current MSW student with a background in CJ Law, this podcast was of utmost interest to me. Like Dr. Craun, I see sex offender registries as important, but still a long way from being an effective tool to decrease recidivism and increase awareness in specific communities. It actually did not surprise me that only one third of the residents from her mail survey knew that there was a convicted sex offender living within a tenth of a mile from their home.

While I think it is crucial to inform communities that there is a potentially dangerous person living in their vicinity, it makes me wonder why such a system does not exist for other violent offenders. For example, convicted murderers or people who committed assaults and robberies could be as, if not even more, dangerous. On that note, while I have an interest to protect potentially vulnerable victims from these people, I cannot ignore our committment to help the disenfranchised offenders either. Especially if, like Dr. Craun alluded to, we socially isolate previous offenders, it is actually increasing the likelihood that they recidivate.

These leaves us in a position to try to think of an effective tool that will not only protect potential victims, but also not interfere with the recovery of past offenders...

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Average Rating: 4stars  evaluating the efficacy of sexual offender registries, Tuesday, February 02, 2010

By Bethany :

After listening to this discussion, I feel I have grown more aware of how easy it is for some sexual offenders to go undetected and sent back into the community with the chance to reoffend. Being a person who does not have children yet, I think I still have many similar fears about what could happen when I do become one. As Dr. Craun mentioned, it is not typically a stranger that commits the crime so education to children is a vital means of prevention.

When it comes to being a Social Worker who is needed to educate on this topic I feel we can educate the care giver of the child or children as much as we want, but it is initially up to the parent to be sure the child fully understands the concept of what is being taught.

I am uneasy as to how effective the current laws are because I do personally know of an individual who was an offender and he had certain stipulations he had to follow, yet he did just enough to slide by so he would not be put back into jail. It is scary to think how easy it is for these perpetrators to reoffend if they truly wanted to.

This podcast brought up many valid points, but I am left wondering just exactly how to play the social work role for families that may have a child or children who have been violated. Also, I am in need to learn more as to what to say and do to enhance awareness.

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Average Rating: 4stars  reaction to the sex offender registry, Monday, February 01, 2010

By taunya englert :

Conducting research about the efficacy of the sex offender registry is a great way to see how implemented policies are working. According to Dr. Craun’s research, there is still a lot that needs to be done in order to understand the effectiveness of the sex offender registry. The data already collected shows that the effectiveness is mixed. Dr. Craun said that the registry does not reduce sexual violence or recidivism. Dr. Craun actually stated that the registry tends to have negative effects on sex offenders. She said that it tends to isolates them and could causes them to lose their support systems or inhibits them from rebuilding new support systems after registering, Could this foster future recidivism? This is where our role as a social worker becomes imminently important. We need to bridge the gap between the offender and resources/support systems as a means of preventative measures for future recidivism. If we are able to help one sex offender build a support system after serving his sentence and registering, then we could possibly be preventing one offender from recidivating and that would mean that there is one less victim.
I think it is also so important to educate communities about sex offenders. Dr. Craun touched upon the research that shows that sex offending predominantly occurs between offenders and victims who know each other, not strangers. It’s unfortunate to see how many people in our society adopt the stranger myth about sex offender’s victims. Until this evidence is understood and internalized by society, there will be that false sense of security and fear. And from that I believe it creates ostracism towards the offender and it could result in the lack of support systems for offenders which can lead to future offending. With that said, I wonder if community action groups run by professionals who are knowledgeable with sex offender research could help with reducing fear, and also help with offender re-integration back into the community.

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Average Rating: 4stars  sex offender registries, Saturday, January 30, 2010

By Amanda H. :

Interesting information. I have not seen research in this area before. I would have liked to hear even more indepth information from Dr. Craun.
Megans's Law enables families to protect themselves at least partially from sexual preditors.
False sense of security? No, I think the benefits of having a registry far out weight any negatives. I remember when this law was passed and the registries became public. My first thought was - This will deter sexual preditors from re-offending. An ancillary benefit of the registries are that they serve as an effective deterent. If a preditor is considering re-offending, he or she may think twice since there is a real threat of public embarrassment. If the perpetrator is a true pedophile I doubt this would make much difference. If it saves one child from being violated, it is certainly worth it. There would be no way to know for sure but my guess is; youth have been saved from victimization since this law came into effect. When the registries came out it made citizens come to grips with the fact that the sexual molestation of children is real. Real in their own neighborhoods; not in some far away place.
This podcast made me curious and I looked at the current registry for my area. I did not see any offenders who victimized adults. Nor did I see any underage perpetrators. I was surprized to find the adult child of one of my clients. Healing begins with an awareness of the problem.

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Average Rating: 4stars  review , Saturday, January 30, 2010

By Michelle :

After listening to Dr. Sarah Craun’s pod cast I have a better knowledge of
issues surrounding sexual offender registries. I feel that Dr. Craun raised some valid points in regards to establishing a email notification system, and incorporating an educational component to educate the general public about sexual abuse offenses.

I currently work with parents on a daily basis and encourage them to access the sexual offender registry to remain informed about sexual offenders within the community. Dr. Craun’s discussion has made me more aware as a social worker of the additional areas that I need to address with parents such as the importance of protecting oneself and their children , profiles of sexual offenders, and the limitations of the sexual offender registry. In addition, I also feel as social workers we need to better educate the public about sexual abuse so victims have no fear of reporting sexual abuse offenses. This pod cast was very educational and will better assist me in dealing with clients.

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Average Rating: 4stars  intended and unintended effects of sex offender registry, Monday, January 25, 2010

By Meaghan :

Dr. Craun's discussion regarding how effective the sexual offender registries are for raising awareness in communities was particularly informative. It provided insight of the impact that the registries have on families and offenders alike. Megan's Law does in fact have good intentions to protect the public by raising awareness in communities. People should have the right to know if there is possible harm in their neighborhoods, especially as it applies to children. However, the registries also unintentionally create what Dr. Craun calls a "misperception" or a false sense of security. The registry promotes fear of stranger offenders and decreases the awareness of the more likely harm, which is not inflicted by strangers, but by people the victim already knows. Furthermore, it does not take much for individuals to show up on one of these lists, and it is crucial to see the registries from the perspective of the offenders. These registries can be potentially dangerous for registered sex offenders, and have consequences to their rehabilitation.

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Average Rating: 4stars  sex offender registries , Wednesday, January 20, 2010

By Anonymous :

After hearing Dr. Crawn and Sue Green’s conversation about sex offender registries, I feel that sex offender registries in states and communities are a good idea. I feel as though community members have the right to know if there is an individual within the community that has been charged with a sexual crime with either another adult or a child. It allows the community a chance to protect themselves and their children. However, I do agree with Dr. Crawn with not all individuals are placed on the registry that may have committed a sexual crime. As a CPS worker, I often see individuals being convicted of sexual crimes or indicated reports against them for credible evidence to support the sexual abuse allegations, but are not placed onto the registry for unknown reasons.

The research that Dr. Crawn spoke about did surprise me. I would have thought the number of sexual assaults would have decreased if individuals were aware of the risk of being placed on the registry. It was interesting to find out that 5% of the offenders do reoffend and 95% of the offenders are first time offenders. However, I was not shocked to hear that most offenders offend children or other adults that they are close to and have a good relationship with.

As a social worker that may be working with sex offenders in the future, I believe that it is important to not judge individuals. It is important for sex offenders to learn different coping techniques so that the chances of reoffending are lower.

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Average Rating: 4stars  podcast helps social workers see both sides, Monday, January 18, 2010

By Justine :

Dr Craun,
I have to say that I was throughly impressed with your podcast. I was fascinated to learn that although the registry is a useful tool, it really is not having the impact we thought it would. I think you did a fantastic job of addressing the research that still needs to be done in this area. For example, I think it would be very interesting to see what characteristics are of the people who are not aware of the registry. Also, I agree with the idea that we have to better utilize technology to inform people of newly arriving sexual offenders - I think an automatic update is a great idea. Finally, I was very impressed with how you brought attention to the need to also help the offenders themselves. It is often so easy to see them as criminals, and to not address their rehabilitation. You did a fantastic job of addressing the hardships sex offenders will face, and the things that social workers need to consider in order to help sexual offenders as clients, and as people. This podcast viewed sexual crimes from all different angles and provides in depth awareness of the topic and the challenges

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Average Rating: 4stars  is having the registry positive or negative?, Saturday, January 16, 2010

By Kim Q :

Before listening to this Podcast, I had a general feeling that the sex offender registry was a positive thing and is effective at helping families and communities feel safer in knowing who lives around them and being able to protect their families. However, Sarah brought up some points that made me reconsider this, which may be more helpful to me working in the social work field.
One point was that when conducting her own survey about communities being aware of a sex offender living within one tenth of a mile, only one third of those who responded were aware. This made me question how many people actually use the registry to see if a registered sex offender is living close. It would make sense that parents would be the ones who check the registry more, but Sarah also mentioned that the registry is not just for offenders against children.
Another point I found interesting was when the discussion turned to how the registry affects the work of social workers. Sarah began by talking about the registry as being a positive thing for families and children, but something that should be taken into consideration is prevention with families and children. She then turned to how the registry affects the offenders who must be on it, which was something I had not considered. She mentioned that the registry makes it difficult when working with offenders for various reasons. To begin, there are unintended consequences that come with the registry that the offenders must deal with, sometimes on a daily basis. Sarah mentioned that the offenders may feel as though they are losing the social support they need to recover, which may increase the likelihood of re-offending. This is an interesting point to consider, especially for social workers to be able to work with diverse populations.

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Average Rating: 4stars  podcase review of dr. craun, Wednesday, January 13, 2010

By Anne Miles :

I found this podcast to be a very interesting and informative topic of discussion especially because I am a parent to young children and have not found comfort in the sexual offender registry. As a parent I have not felt a sense of security regarding the sexual offender registry. My insecurities surrounding the registry are based on the laws that require only convicted sexual offenders put their names on the registry. I was more concerned about those individuals who pleaded down their sentences or were not convicted of a crime.

This podcast reminded me that the majority of sexual offenders know their victims and "stranger danger: is not as common regarding sexual offenders. This podcast was useful as a parent and an inspiring social worker in that in order to help and protect ourselves, children, and society is to educate on prevention and awareness regarding sexual offenders.

This podcast may have been more beneficial if it included what information that parents should tell their children and what social workers can do to increase this awareness. And although Dr. Craun commented on working with and teaching about sexual offenders, more information regarding a trauma and human rights perspective regarding committing a sexual offense, and working with that individual on what is beneficial or not beneficial might have been useful.

This was an excellent topic with an informed key speaker, who has firsthand research in the field. I am inspired by her expertise, thank you.

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Average Rating: 4stars  a false sense of security, Tuesday, January 12, 2010

By M Trask :

I currently work in a field that can benefit from utilizing databases that list sexual offenders. I am a Child Protective caseworker. Although I knew that the current registries were only made up of those who had been criminally convicted, I was amazed at the number of people who were not aware of this. After listening to this podcast, I asked some people what they thought of sexual offender registries and to my dismay all thought that these registries named all sexual offenders. To think, Megan’s Law was meant to protect the community and now the registries created may be doing more damage than good by giving people a false sense of security. Although this policy had a good foundation, the implementation is in need of change. It has been said that a pedophile can offend more than 60 times in their lifetime. If this person is never caught and prosecuted, they would not be on a registry.

The idea that the registry creates negative implications for those named on it is very controversial. Although it is clear that individuals named on a registry are labeled, some for life. With weighing the safety of children and citizens in general, this may be a violation of basic human rights that society will allow.

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Average Rating: 4stars  review of dr. craun's interview, Monday, January 11, 2010

By Anonymous :

Dr. Craun gave a very interesting interview. I enjoyed her discussion and was only disappointed by the length of the interview. I thought that Dr. Craun could have spent more time elaborating on the registry itself as well as her research. There were two points that I found most interesting and would like to learn more about. Dr. Craun spoke about adults being listed on the registry for crimes against other adults. I wonder if all sexual crimes that are perpetrated by adults towards other adults are listed, or if only some are. I wonder if there are separate tiers of severity for the crimes against adults as there are the three tiers perpetrators can fall in for crimes against children. I also enjoyed the conclusion of Dr. Craun’s speech where she summarized the usefulness of the registry. I like the way she explained that it is a useful tool in protecting people from high offenders but that it is not the end. Dr. Craun points out that most perpetrators know their victim on a personal level and knowing the list will prevent a relationship from beginning with one of these men. She also points out that it is important to learn to recognize signs of a perpetrator because many times it might be a first offense or have never been caught before. I have to agree with Dr. Craun; I believe that the best way to combat a sexual offense is by being knowledgeable and being able to prevent an attack regardless of if the person has a record or not.

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Average Rating: 4stars  reaction, Saturday, December 12, 2009

By Nicole Sklar :

I felt this was an extremely interesting discussion. The subject of sex offenders is a sensitive one and I knew little about the efficacy of sex registry lists. I am not all that surprised at the numbers of people who actually are aware of both Megan's Law and the Registry list. It is good to know that these lists do make people more aware (when compared with controls) but still not as high as we might hope. I think it is a good starting point for this problem, but more does need to be done to help protect both the families and children, but also help the sex offenders when they are released. All parties involved need to be aided in different ways and hopefully we are headed in the right direction to do so. I also was happy that you mentioned the statistics on offenders. Throughout my education I have learned that offenders almost always know the victim, and the idea of a stranger attack is actually quite rare. I think these statistics are not as well known, and it is an important piece of information for parents (and children). Hopefully with further research we can establish an even more effective plan than the registry, and create a safe environment for families, as well as any necessary treatment for offenders after they are released.

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Average Rating: 5stars  interesting eval. of sex registries, Saturday, December 05, 2009

By Chelsea Olsen :

Information known to myself about sex offender registries has been very limited. I have heard of Megan’s Law, but did not know how it connected with registries, and the Adam Walsh law was completely unknown to me, prompting me to look into it. I have used the NYS sex offenders registry online before, not in fear but curiousity. Of friends I have talked too, few were aware it was possible to access the list, or how many registered offenders were actually within their areas. The research regarding who knows the number of sex offenders in a community reflect this as well . A third of the studied communities were aware of those convicted of sex crimes, which seems low. It is interesting, but not surprising, that most of the communities believe that the sex offenders are as much strangers to us as those we see on the lists. It seems that our society has come to believe, for a variety of reasons, that sexual offenders are those monsters lurking in the dark. It is unfortunate that less people are aware the majority of sexual violence is committed mostly by an acquaintance, friend, or family member. It is really true that the registries might create this false sense of security for certain people. It is important that this type of research is being done to look into how the sex offenders registries are being viewed and treated in our society. I agree that we have a long way to go before it is understood just how really well the registry works, and in what ways they are effective for our communities. The issue of sex offenders and sexual offender registries is not a topic many people have been, or will be, comfortable discussing and approaching, but I think it is important to look into this. Many have a hard time approaching such a topic as neutrally as Dr.Craun has. I agree that the registries have potential to do good things, but it is definite that they are not the end-all for the protection from sexual violence. Education and awareness is important.

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DISCLAIMER: The content shared by the presenter(s) and/or interviewer(s) of each podcast is their own and not necessarily representative of any views, research, or practice from the UB School of Social Work or the inSocialWork® podcast series.