Sexual Violence Legislation: A Review of Case Law and Empirical Research

Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, Vol 20(4), November 2014, 443-462

20 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2015

See all articles by Cynthia Calkins

Cynthia Calkins

CUNY, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Elizabeth Jeglic

CUNY, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Robert Beattey

Arizona State University (ASU) - School of Social and Behavioral Sciences; CUNY, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Steven Zeidman

CUNY School of Law

Anthony Perillo

City University of New York - John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Date Written: August 6, 2014

Abstract

Sexual violence is a serious problem that affects those victimized, their families, and the community around them. Much sex offense legislation appears designed to respond to the collective fear that sexual violence engenders, with legislative efforts (intentionally or unintentionally) tending to target low-base-rate “stranger danger” types of offenses. This article reviews prevailing forms of sex offense legislation, providing a summary of recent case law and an examination of empirical findings that bear upon the functioning and impact of common legislative responses to these “stranger danger” fears, including sexually violent predator laws, registration and community notification statutes, residence restrictions, and electronic monitoring. Although it is difficult to conduct well-controlled studies that test whether sex offense legislation works, extant research provides, at most, limited support for the value of much current legislation. This article concludes by suggesting areas of research need and outlining how empirical data may help to shape sex offense legislation so as to most successfully reduce sexual violence.

Keywords: sex crime, sexual offense, offending, sexual violence, sexual assault, rape, stranger danger, sexual legislation, sex offense, sexual violence, sexually violent predator, electronic monitoring, victim, sex offenders

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Calkins, Cynthia and Jeglic, Elizabeth and Beattey, Robert and Zeidman, Steven and Perillo, Anthony, Sexual Violence Legislation: A Review of Case Law and Empirical Research (August 6, 2014). Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, Vol 20(4), November 2014, 443-462. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2672083

Cynthia Calkins

CUNY, John Jay College of Criminal Justice ( email )

445 W59th Street, Room 3418.03
New York, NY 10019
United States

Elizabeth Jeglic

CUNY, John Jay College of Criminal Justice ( email )

445 W59th Street, Room 3418.03
New York, NY 10019
United States

Robert Beattey

Arizona State University (ASU) - School of Social and Behavioral Sciences ( email )

P.O. Box 37100
Phoenix, AZ 85069-7100
United States

CUNY, John Jay College of Criminal Justice ( email )

445 W59th Street, Room 3418.03
New York, NY 10019
United States

Steven Zeidman (Contact Author)

CUNY School of Law ( email )

2 Court Square
Long Island City, NY
United States

Anthony Perillo

City University of New York - John Jay College of Criminal Justice

445 W59th Street, Room 3418.03
New York, NY 10019
United States

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