We advocate the position that all law and public policy addressing sexual abuse
be rationally related to prevention, and based on scientifically accurate information.
(Adopted by the Board of Directors, on July 9, 2015)
SAEN, Inc. is a non-profit corporation that seeks to promote and implement an effective comprehensive national strategy to combat and prevent sexual abuse. SAEN, Inc. seeks to unite concerned citizens, those who have been victims of sexual abuse (and their families), those who seek to reintegrate into society as law-abiding citizens after having committed a sex offense (and their families), as well as professionals from the fields of law enforcement, mental health, public policy, and the scientific community in common cause against sexual abuse.
We believe that much of the public policy and legislation aimed at those with prior sex offense histories has been costly and ineffective at preventing abuse. Studies have documented that 95% of all sex offenses are committed by individuals not previously convicted of a sex offense. Therefore, we believe that to truly reduce the incidence of sexual abuse, societal efforts must be directed at the root causes of abuse. The only truly effective sexual abuse prevention initiative is one that prevents abuse from occurring in the first place, as opposed to seeking to prevent its reoccurrence.
Unfortunately, most of public policy in this area has been driven by fear, and triggered by media accounts of horrific crimes. Such crimes occur with great rarity; nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that the anger and fear that these crimes generate is real and legitimate. We mourn for these victims and sympathize with their families, who have suffered unimaginable loss. However, broad-based public policy and legislation based on these rare events, represents an enormous misallocation and misdirection of limited money and resources, and has had little or no impact on reducing sexual abuse.
We fundamentally believe that one does not have to make a choice between protecting the community or upholding fundamental American principles of fairness and justice. We can do both. We can protect our vulnerable citizens, and remain true to our values as a nation.
Toward that goal, SAEN, Inc. proposes the “SAEN Initiative”. The SAEN Initiative proposes broad-based policy reform that:
- Makes prevention of sexual abuse, in the first instance, its primary goal and focus;
- Recognizes that individuals with sex offense histories represent an extraordinarily diverse group that currently includes Romeo-and-Juliet consensual encounters between an older teen or young adult and a younger teen, children engaging in inappropriate, but consensual sexual activity, sexting, nuisance offenses (such as urinating in public), prostitution-related offenses, as well as more serious offenses involving incest, sexual assault, and the (rare) stranger assault;
- Recognizes that, as a group, individuals with sex offense histories have the lowest recidivism rate of all ex-offenders in the criminal justice system—except for those with murder convictions;
- Recognizes that current law and public policy has, in many cases, criminalized sexual behaviors between children and between adolescents that represent normal developmental processes, rather than criminal behavior;
- Redirects the extraordinary expenditures of money and resources on preventing low frequency sex offense recidivism to the greater problem of preventing sexual abuse in the first instance;
- Employs an evidence-based approach to managing and supervising those with sex offense histories, based on the Risk-Needs-Responsivity (“RNR”) model, which directs resources to those with the greatest likelihood of reoffending;
- Provides avenues of confidential treatment for those struggling with sexually deviant urges prior to them committing their first offense;
This is our mission. We recognize that this will be a challenging cause to advance. Nevertheless, we pursue these goals with hope and confidence in the combined talents, knowledge, and wisdom of those who believe in using science and reasoned public policy to combat sexual abuse. We believe that together we can promote and implement policies that are truly effective at protecting children and other victims of sexual assault.