An Examination of Levels of Undetected Sexual Offending

Kristen M. Zgoba, Rutgers University

Within the past decade, a considerable amount of attention and funding has focused on sexual offenders and their victims. Legislative initiatives, fueled by public sentiment, have been enacted with the goal of protecting victims from these sexual predators. However, past research supports the notion that sexual offenses are widely under-reported, subsequently rendering much legislation futile at protecting its community members. This paper represents an effort to examine the level of undetected sexual offending committed by incarcerated sexual offenders. In addition, it seeks to determine what effect community registration, notification and civil commitment statutes might have on sex offenders' lives post-release. Consenting sexual offenders completed the survey during their group therapy sessions. This research utilizes survey data to examine how undetected offending effects the efficacy of current sexual offending legislation. In addition, policy recommendations are made in relation to the findings from the survey.

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Updated 05/20/2006