This essay begins with a review of public reaction to sexual offenses and the rise in social awareness that sex offenses have promoted. Statistics exploring the prevalence of sexual abuse in the United States and the United Kingdom will be given. As a result of a number of widely publicized sexual abuse cases (particularly child sexual abuse cases), a variety of laws applied to sexual offenders have been enacted from 1990 to 2010. Although different, these policies tend to center around four common themes: sex offender registration and notification, civil commitment, residency restrictions, and risk assessment. The essay examines these legislative efforts to assess their effectiveness at reducing sexually offensive behaviors and discusses the controversies surrounding such legislation.