New York Action Alliance is a not-for-profit organization (pending application)
Through education, legislation, and litigation, New York Action Alliance helps build safer communities by championing policies based on sound research which meaningfully hold people accountable for sexual harm, direct resources to survivors and prevention strategies, and make restoration possible for everyone.
Sexual abuse, rape, and other sexual harms can be extremely damaging. The objectives of holding people accountable for those offenses and preventing them in the first place are of paramount importance.
Unfortunately, our collective approach to addressing sexual harm does neither of those things, and actually undermines our abilities to meaningfully hold people accountable and to prevent sexual harm. Instead, we divert an enormous amount of resources and attention into systems of continuous punishment for people who have already been held accountable for a crime – with no public safety benefit.
Sex offense registries have been a staple of our legal landscape since the early 1990’s, when they were passed into law amidst a series of high-profile and horrible crimes against children.
The impulse to “do something” is understandable, but the research clearly shows that registries are not effective at producing public safety. Most people on sex offense registries do not re-offend, and other models of post-incarceration re-entry have been demonstrated to be more effective at keeping people crime-free.
In fact, research supports the notion that aggressive SORA policies such as community notification and housing banishment laws actually increase rates of re-offending.
More than 95% of all reported sex offenses are attributable to people who are not on sex offense registries, and cases of sexual abuse and rape routinely go uninvestigated or unsolved.
Despite this, SORA remains our almost exclusive criminal justice response to preventing sexual harm, despite no evidence it protects anyone, and ample evidence that it makes our communities less safe. We spend billions of dollars after harm has occurred, and very little in preventing harm before it happens.
Our organization supports policies and laws that hold people accountable for sexual harm, and that help people who have been held accountable to live successful and law-abiding lives upon release. To the extent that someone who has committed a crime succeeds after they have been held accountable, we all succeed.
We also support policies that meaningfully invest our resources into practices such as survivor services and primary prevention, that will actually produce public safety, as opposed to creating a false sense of security.
Simply stated, our laws and policies in this domain are a failure. They are proven to be ineffective and do not address the actual problems we all desperately need to solve.
Our aim is to work with policy makers, professionals, educators, and the public to effect change. Additionally, when civil liberties are at stake our organization will take action through litigation.
If you agree with our mission, you can be involved in a number of ways: