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Treatment or diversion programs for perpetrators and offender registration

Legislation should provide that if intervention, treatment or diversion programs (pretrial diversion programs are alternatives to prosecution which seek to divert offenders with no prior offences from traditional criminal justice processing into a program of supervision and services) are prescribed for perpetrators, the operators of such programs must work in close cooperation with survivor service providers to enable constant feedback from the complainant/survivor about the recurrence of violence.

Legislation should provide that all sentences to alternative, treatment, or diversion programs are to be handed down only in cases where there will be continuous monitoring of the case by justice officials and survivor organizations to ensure the survivor’s safety and the effectiveness of the sentence. Legislation should require that such alternative sentences be monitored and reviewed on a regular basis. Legislation should require immediate reports to probation officers and police about recurring violence. (See: UN Handbook 3.11.6; National Advisory Council on Violence Against Women and the Violence Against Women Office, The Toolkit to End Violence Against Women, p. 14)

Examples: The Criminalization of Violence against Women Law (2007) of Costa Rica (Spanish only) includes detailed conditions on when alternative sentences may be imposed, and on the alternatives which are available. Spain’s Organic Act 1/2004 of 28 December on Integrated Protection Measures against Gender Violence (2004) provides for suspension of certain penalties (under two years in jail) if the perpetrator participates in an intervention programme. (Article 35)

Sex offender registration

  • Legislation should require offenders who are charged with committing or attempting to commit crimes involving criminal sexual conduct but who plead to or are found guilty of a different crime to register their location and employment with law enforcement agencies if the crime which the offender pleads to or is found guilty of arose from the same set of circumstances as the original crime.

For excellent questions to assess risk or lethality in determining whether to release offenders, see the Center for Sex Offender Management, The Comprehensive Assessment Protocol, a Systemwide Review of Adult and Juvenile Sex Offender Management Strategies, section on Pre Trial Management. Available in English.

Example: The New York, United States, Sex Offense Courts have developed a sex offender protocol that recognizes that offenders are often out on bail or living in the community.  Thus, maintaining frequent contact with offenders is prioritized. The Sex Offense Courts order swift consequences if violations occur and often require offenders to attend preventive services. Convicted offenders must also maintain contact with the Courts to enable monitoring of compliance with conditions of probation or incarceration and their compliance with the Sex Offender Registration Act.

Center for Sex Offender Management, Enhancing the Management of Adult and Juvenile Sex Offenders: A Handbook for Policymakers and Practitioners (2007). Available in English.

Center for Sex Offender Management, Twenty Strategies for Managing Sex Offenders in Your Jurisdiction (2008). Available in English.