The Adam Walsh Act Implementation Grant Program supports implementation of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). SORNA helps jurisdictions create and sustain comprehensive programs to consistently register, monitor and notify communities about sex offenders.
Prior to SORNA’s enactment, there were inconsistencies among registration and notification laws, programs and policies within states and territories, and altogether lacking in Indian Country. These inconsistencies and safe havens allowed sex offenders to move between jurisdictions without law enforcement or public notice. These challenges potentially hindered law enforcement’s ability to detect and apprehend sex offenders and reduced public awareness about sex offenders living in communities. Consistent registration and notification policies and programs need to be established and maintained so there is comprehensive and timely sex offender information sharing between jurisdictions and the public.
To combat these problems, the SMART Office continues to work to ensure that—to the maximum extent possible—states, tribes and territories take the steps needed to maintain sex offender registries that meet SORNA requirements, or to bring them closer to implementation. The SMART Office seeks to achieve this goal through direct funding provided under the AWA Program, targeted training and technical assistance, and technology tools. The SMART Office provides funding to SORNA jurisdictions annually to further SORNA implementation.
The Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW.gov) is a critical component of the SORNA scheme to provide a comprehensive national system to notify the public about registered sex offenders. It is the only U.S. government website that links public state, territorial and tribal sex offender registries in one national search site. As of April 2020, all 50 states, the five principal U.S. territories, the District of Columbia and 151 tribes are participating in NSOPW.gov.
The program also supports the development and implementation of technology tools that allow cross-jurisdictional information sharing to eliminate safe havens for sex offenders.
Parents, employers and other concerned individuals can use the website’s search tool or download an app to identify location information on sex offenders living, working and attending school not only in their own neighborhoods but in other nearby states and communities. In addition, the website provides visitors with safety and education information about sexual abuse and how to protect themselves and loved ones and minimize the risk of potential victimization.
The Keep Young Athletes Safe Program works to support oversight of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, each national governing body and each Paralympic sports organization to safeguard amateur athletes against emotional, physical and sexual abuse in sports. The program’s objectives are to safeguard young athletes participating in organized sports from sexual, physical and emotional abuse. Keep Young Athletes Safe (KYAS) is designed to establish effective oversight of sports organizations by providing comprehensive training programs, investigatory tools, policies and standards to prevent abuse; ensuring mechanisms are in place to report, investigate and prosecute all forms of abuse; and establishing best practices to address and support victims of abuse.
Under the KYAS program, the grantee is designing and implementing measures to help prevent abuse and protect young athletes by developing educational materials, training programs and policies to prevent abuse, as well as developing investigatory tools and policies to address identified abuse.