Current practice in housing sex offenders

David Cowan, Rose Gilroy, Christina Pantazis and Mark Bevan

The question of how society deals with the rehousing of sex offenders has raised considerable anxiety among professionals and the public.

This research looks at the different ways in which social housing providers in three diverse locations attempted to meet the challenges posed in allocating social housing to sex offenders within a framework of community safety. In particular, the research examined the role of housing professionals in multi-agency partnerships, and considered the factors which support and inhibit their involvement.

The study also puts forward pointers to good practice in involving housing providers in risk assessment and the role of housing in the management of sex offenders in the community. In addition to analysing formal policies and working arrangements, the use of confidential interviews allowed the researchers to get to the heart of the dilemmas and difficult choices faced by professionals in seeking to maximise the safety of the community. This research will primarily be of interest to housing professionals, but people working in a range of agencies involved in this complex issue - the police, probation service, social services, community safety officers - may all benefit from its findings.