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Protecting Children Against Sexual Predators

RAINN Helps Pass Law to Find 100,000 Missing Sex Offenders

Did you know that of the 500,000 sex offenders now required to register with their state government, nearly 1 in 5 — 100,000 in all — have gone missing? They have just disappeared, either by registering a false address, or, most commonly, moving and failing to update their registration as required.

The passage of the Adam Walsh Act will give law enforcement the tools to track down missing offenders...This is a landmark bill that's going to make a real difference.
— Scott Berkowitz, RAINN

In 2006, RAINN helped pass a new law that enhances penalties for child sexual abuse and tightens the registration requirements for sex offenders. Once fully implemented, this law will close the loopholes that have led to missing sex offenders and assess serious penalties against those who fail to comply with registration requirements, including regularly confirming that their information is up to date.

"The passage of the Adam Walsh Act will give law enforcement the tools to track down missing offenders and keep them in sight, leaving us all safer. This is a landmark bill that's going to make a real difference," said RAINN president Scott Berkowitz.

The final version of this legislation, known as the Adam Walsh Child Safety and Protection Act (H.R. 4472), was enacted on July 27, 2006. The bill also recognizes the important work RAINN does by authorizing federal support of the National Sexual Assault Hotline, Online Hotline, and RAINN's public education and policy programs.

RAINN is pleased to have worked with both chambers of Congress on the development and passage of this legislation. RAINN credits the bill's chief sponsors, House Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Bill Frist (R-TN), Joe Biden (D-DE), and Charles Grassley (R-IA), as well as representatives Mark Foley (R-FL), Mark Green (R-WI), and the bill's other cosponsors for working together in a bipartisan way to overcome hurdles and enact this legislation.

The bill is named in honor of John and Reve Walsh's son Adam, who was murdered 25 years ago.

Scott Berkowitz and RAINN vice president of public policy Evelyn Fortier attended the presidential bill signing ceremony at the White House on July 27, 2006.


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