Starting the Conversation: A Shift in Paradigm

  • Elizabeth L. JeglicEmail author
  • Cynthia Calkins


The past several decades have seen much concern over sexual violence. Current policy narrowly focuses on recidivistic sex crimes and has done little to address the overall problem of sexual violence. Not only have current policy measures had little impact on sexual violence, but in some cases they appear to make the problem worse in that they destabilize offenders and thus inadvertently increase offenders’ risk of recidivism. Furthermore, it is estimated that the large majority of sex crimes are committed by first time sex offenders and thus laws that are focused on recidivistic sex offenders are diverting scarce resources away from much needed prevention initiatives. In this first chapter we will introduce the central thesis of the book—that we need to carefully evaluate the menu of policy and prevention available and weigh the costs and benefits of different options. Underscoring our focus on how we can do better to prevent sexual violence, we then discuss why it is important to shift the dialogue in the field from what does not work to that of what is working and why.


Sexual violence Sex offenders Legislation Policy Primary prevention 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyJohn Jay College of Criminal JusticeNew YorkUSA

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