Family Members of Registered Sex Offenders

The purpose of this study was to better understand the impact of sex offender registration
and notification laws on the family members of registered sex offenders (RSO). An online
survey was utilized to collect data from 584 family members across the U.S. Employment
problems experienced by the RSO, and subsequent financial hardships, emerged as the most
pressing issue identified by family members. The likelihood of housing disruption was correlated
with residential restriction laws; larger buffer distances led to increased frequencies of housing
crisis. Family members living with an RSO were more likely to experience threats and
harassment by neighbors. Children of RSOs reportedly experienced adverse consequences
including stigmatization and differential treatment by teachers and classmates. More than half
had experienced ridicule, teasing, depression, anxiety, fear, or anger. Unintended consequences
can impact family members’ ability to support RSOs in their efforts to avoid recidivism and
successfully reintegrate. Implications for criminal justice policy and practice are discussed.



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