According to the Virginia Sex Offender Registry, registered sex offenders cannot hand out candy on Halloween if they have restrictions related to probation supervision not allowing contact with children. In those cases, they may not turn their porch lights on or open the door to trick-or-treaters.
If the convicted sex offender is not on supervision, they can participate in trick-or-treat and other Halloween activities. On Halloween, Virginia State Police’s Sex Offender Investigative Unit works with the Department of Corrections Probation and Parole to check on sex offenders under supervision.
Law enforcement officials and researchers caution that the registries can play only a limited role in preventing child sexual abuse and stress that most perpetrators are known to the child.
The U.S. Department of Justice, which oversees the National Sex Offender Public Website, estimates that only about 10 percent of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are strangers to the child.
The Justice Department estimates 60 percent of perpetrators are known to the child but are not family members but rather family friends, babysitters, child care providers and others, and 30 percent of child victims are abused by family members. Nearly a quarter of the abusers are under the age of 18, the department estimates.
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