SOSEN upholds fair and just laws that are evidence based, which are effective and that protect the Constitutional rights of all citizens.
The mission of SOSEN is to educate the public, the media, law-enforcement, and legislators regarding the facts, based on current research, of sexual abuse. We are striving to incorporate fact-based solutions thus helping to change the laws that affect former offenders, their loved ones,victims and the communities where they live.
We seek to also provide support for victims, former offenders and their families.
It has been said. ”Necessity is the mother of invention.”
From such necessity was born SOSEN.
The History of the Sex Offender Solutions and Education Network
Founded in 2003, SOSEN was at first a Yahoo Group comprised of former offenders and family members. Though their numbers were small and organization loose, the group’s mission was profound. The members experienced firsthand a need for a place for the growing numbers of registered former offenders and their families to find comfort and support. They also saw firsthand that the direction legislators was taking regarding the laws being passed was counterproductive to the goals sought.
Between 2004 and 2005 the Yahoo Group was expanded and membership grew. New groups were added including creating separate state groups, among others. During this time of growth, as with any fledgling project there were differences of opinion and thus the need for strong, unbiased, committed leadership. As a step to providing a stable organization and effective leadership, discussions began on the topic of incorporation in the first quarter of 2006.
The discussions on the subject continued for the next year. Then in May/June of 2007, SOSEN was officially incorporated, making SOSEN the first among the RFSO groups to have this distinction. Also during this time bylaws were written, board positions defined, staff members recruited, and a new forum was created.
As with any great idea there were also bumps in the road. When SOSEN began to emerge as a leader in Sex Offender Issues, it caught the attention of hate groups. These groups deliberately and willfully attacked the SOSEN Yahoo group boards, so the Yahoo Groups were disbanded. The small victory of the vigilantes encouraged them to continue their attacks. Both through slander and outright attacks on the SOSEN website the vigilantes continued their illegal assaults which have included copyright infringement.
This brings us to the current SOSEN.org website. Many changes have come to SOSEN over the past few years. SOSEN, now under the leadership of two courageous women, has reached many of its goals. Today the SOSEN website is a safe, secure place for family members and RFSO’s and former victims to come to seek support.
SOSEN realized from the start that offenders come from the most diverse backgrounds. For this reason, SOSEN has expanded to meet every possible need. Within the SOSEN Forum, members find nonjudgmental support from other members who are in similar situations as they are.
The Boards on the SOSEN Forum now include:
- Areas for discussion of current legislation
- Areas for addressing personal questions or problems pertaining to existing RFSO laws
- Areas for discussions of Civil and Human Rights
- An area for Religious discussions
- A Creative Corner for those whose outlet is poetry, music, or writing
- A section for Veterans
- A section for family members only
- An area for RFSO facts and information and the SOSEN educational series.
SOSEN, A Helping Hand in Times of Distress.
In 2006, a father joined SOSEN looking for support for his family. Thanks to the educational materials, in SOSEN’s file library, which included expert reports, facts and statistics this family was able to use this information to educate not only themselves but their son’s attorney and the lead prosecutor in the case, which resulted in a plea bargain being offered which would allow his son not to be required to register on a lesser charge.
In 2007, SOSEN was referred to a mother and her son whose lives were destroyed by the sex offender laws. This mother and son now advocate for reform of the sex offender registry as they work side by side to educate other youths and families as to the age of consent issue, Human and Civil rights issues, and the myths surrounding the registry which they feel does not protect even one child.
In 2008 SOSEN helped a member who had moved from one state to another to remove himself from the registry as he was no longer under law, required to register.
There are many stories where SOSEN has helped individuals and family members. Not to be forgotten are the many former victims among the SOSEN family who have found a loving, compassionate home among our widely varied membership.
- SOSEN Helped Sarah Tofte with the Human rights Watch Report 2007.
- SOSEN members participated in the Jill Levinson collateral damage study.
- SOSEN has worked with other organizations in efforts of locating housing for former offenders due to residency restrictions across the country.
- SOSEN has been successful in finding temporary housing for members in Florida and Oklahoma.
- SOSEN has sent reports to therapists, criminal defense attorneys, reporters and politicians upon request and SOSEN members have spoken to many social justice students, law makers and committees.
SOSEN now stands as a leader in the fight to reform counterproductive sex-offender laws, education, and support. Through the many changes in the organization, the mission of SOSEN has not changed; EDUCATION and PREVENTION are the keys to successfully dealing with the unpleasant subject of sex offenses.
We at SOSEN believe that an approach that allows former offenders an opportunity to maintain a successful life should include the following:
- Conducive, applicable and available treatment for the individual that not only differentiates between necessary methods of treatment based on offense types, but also includes assessment based recommendations so that more severe offenders receive additional treatment specific to their individual needs.
- Assistance in obtaining equal opportunity employment in appropriate style settings.
- Assessment based classification for ALL registrants that also includes periodic review of those individuals who have remained crime free for a specified amount of time regardless of offense and are assessed as being no longer a threat to the community.
- Abolishing residency restrictions that do not prevent a repeat, extremely dangerous individual from re-offending and only causes harm to those individuals and their families who are affected by the registry.
We at SOSEN actively pursue such solutions by providing education on multi-levels utilizing the following methods:
- Public Speaking Events
- Media Contact
- The National (Resource or Support) Toll Free Hotline
- Developing relationships with other organizations to explore solutions in the best interest of community based safety for ALL citizens of the United States
- Coordinating with other entities to promote public education and prevention through registrant related events.
- 2007 Ohio Statehouse Public Event – focusing on SB 10, The Adam Walsh Act.
- 2007-2009 The Julia Tuttle Causeway, Miami-Dade County FL – focusing on the homeless registrant situation.
- 2009 National Conference, MA – Informative event open to professionals and supporters.
- 2010 Collaboration with Holy Ground Church, CA – focusing on public safety and education for the community at large.
- 2010 Collaboration with The Love Foundation, OK – focusing on public safety and education for the community at large.
Distribution of printed materials and brochures on registrant related topics, including:
- AWA Empirical Study
- Church Attendance
- Civil Commitment
- Collateral Damage
- Education of Youth in America
- Facts and Myths Concerning Sex Offenders
- Residency Laws
Other Areas of Activity
- Mass mailings to Registrants and Families
- Meeting with Public Officials
Our Website Located at www.sosen.org consisting of educational and supportive information that includes:
- Evidence Based Statistics
- Current Legislation affecting Registrants and their Families
- Advocating for Civil Rights Protection
- Family Reunification
- Outreach Initiatives
- Prevention of Sexual Abuse
- Member Forum