Stress experiences of family members of registered sex offenders

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Abstract

The collateral consequences of sex offender registration and notification (SORN) have been well established, although little evidence has supported the efficacy of SORN. Based on the belief that family members provide some of the most consistent, important, and intense forms of support for criminal offenders in general and registered sex offenders (RSOs) more specifically, the experiences of sanctions, losses, and stresses of these individuals is examined. Using survey responses from 584 individuals known to visit online support and advocacy groups for RSOs and their loved ones, this study identifies the stress levels and stressors experienced by this population. Findings show that family members of RSOs experience high levels of social isolation, fear, shame, property damage, and forced residential relocation. Perceived stress is significantly higher for those who are of lower economic means, feel isolated, have high levels of fear and shame/embarrassment, or were forced to move. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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