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The Historical Evolution of Sex Offender Risk Management

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Risk, Crime and Society book series (PSRCS)


Since the early 1990s, a raft of legislation and policies in respect of sexual offender risk management has been enacted predominantly by the USA, with Canada and the UK adopting similar responses. These developments have often occurred in response to child deaths or abductions, and have largely taken a preventive and regulatory stance, resulting in an approach labelled as ‘community protection’. This chapter will review the key trends in legislative and policy responses to managing sex offenders within the community, concluding with a consideration of alternative possibilities and emerging alternative responses to sex offender community management. The latter include attempts to reintegrate sexual offenders more effectively and safely into the community, and attempts to engage communities more effectively in achieving public safety.


  • Sex offending
  • Historical developments
  • ‘Discovery’

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  1. 1.

    Founded by Esther Rantzen in 1986.

  2. 2.

    See the Service Evaluation Report at:; accessed 12 December 2016.

  3. 3.

    By 2016 there were 49,322 registered sex offenders in England and Wales (College of Policing 2016); and 1465 registered sex offenders in Northern Ireland (PPANI 2016).

  4. 4.

    For an excellent review of the role of the News of the World campaign in the formation of ‘Sarah’s Law’ in the UK, see Savage, S. and Charman, S. (2010) Public Protectionism and ‘Sarah’s Law’: Exerting Pressure through Single Issue Campaigns. In M. Nash and A. Williams (eds), Handbook of Public Protection. Cullompton: Willan, pp. 434–453.


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Kemshall, H. (2017). The Historical Evolution of Sex Offender Risk Management. In: McCartan, K., Kemshall, H. (eds) Contemporary Sex Offender Risk Management, Volume I. Palgrave Studies in Risk, Crime and Society. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-63566-8

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