Challenges

There are more than 200,000 cases of rape or sexual assault in the United States each year. Sexual violence is a profoundly under-acknowledged and poorly coordinated public health problem. On average, one out of every thousand people over the age of twelve is a victim of sexual violence each year and there are now between 25 -39 million adult survivors of sexual abuse, rendering it a serious public health issue in the United States. Sexual assault costs our society $127 billion per year nationally, outweighing all other crimes (in terms of tangible and intangible costs). With the majority of convicted sex offenders returning to communities, it is critical that scientifically vetted treatment, supervision and assessment tools are adequately utilized and that policies and community solutions are based on informed evidence-based research.

Many state and national policies designed to address the complex issue of sexual violence are not adequately evaluated by experts within the field or guided by sufficient information to be effective. For example, the Adam Walsh Act of 2006 was passed without any study or examination of the potential consequences of the law and with no accounting of the cost for States to implement it. The result is a policy that fails to incorporate any evidence-based methods for reducing sexual violence and, while good intentioned, falls short of addressing the root causes of the violence and informed responses.

Additionally, while there is a large body of research about sexual offenders, scientific assessment tools for the prediction of dangerousness, treatment, management, and prevention there currently is no single resource that offers objective policy expertise that evaluates and presents this information in a way that is readily accessible to the public and policymakers.

The ALLY Foundation’s strategy provides access to the latest evidence-based research and information to inform the public, practitioners, justice system and policymakers in order to prevent, address and end sexual violence.

Ending Sexual Violence Through Science and Innovation
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