Legislative Reponse: ATSA Letter to Pennsylvania House of Representatives Regarding House Bill 2507
Dated August 30, 2018, the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) addressed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, specifically critiquing House Bill 2507. This bill proposes strict residency restrictions for registered sex offenders, prohibiting them from living within 5,000 feet of any school. ATSA and its Mid-Atlantic Region Chapter (MARATSA) express concerns about the bill's potential to create unintended consequences, such as increased homelessness among offenders, without enhancing public safety.
The letter highlights that 90-95% of child sexual abuse is committed by known individuals, not strangers, making residency restrictions less effective. ATSA argues that such policies divert attention and resources from where abuse is most likely to occur. The organization suggests a more effective approach would be comprehensive education on consent, appropriate boundaries, and recognizing grooming behaviors. They emphasize that residence restrictions can destabilize offenders' lives, impeding their reintegration and increasing the likelihood of non-sexual crimes. ATSA advocates for a case-by-case management system, tailoring services and sanctions to individual risk levels to maximize community safety and resource efficiency.
Download : PennsylvaniaHouseofRepresentativesHB2507.pdf