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AWA (Adam Walsh Act)      SORNA

Megan's Law                      Jacob Wetterling ACT

Jessica Lunsford


What do they mean?

SORNA – The Sex Offender Notification Registration Act is the acronym most unique to the entire world, beyond the sex offender community. Many outside of the sex offender community aren’t familiar with the acronym, but it doesn’t usually refer to another already existing acronym.  It is contained within title 1 of the Adam Walsh Act.

Jacob Wetterling was kidnapped from his Minnesota hometown and his case remains unsolved.   In 1994 a law was passed requiring states to implement a registry.

Megan's Law is named after Megan Kanka a tragic case of her murder in New Jersey.  Megan's law was passed in 1996 and it required the registry to be available to the public.

AWA – Adam Walsh Act Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-248). The acronym AWA is commonly referenced, however, as well known as the acronym AWA is within the sex offender community, it’s hardly unique outside of the sex offender community and so SORNA became the preferred. AWA can also stand for many other things having nothing to do with sex offenders. So another acronym was made, which is more unique to the sex offender community.


Adam Walsh is a tragic story of a victim who was killed in Florida in 1981during a horrendous sex crime. This law exists in honor of his memory.  This law added a tier system to the already existing registry.

Jessica Lunsford was murded in Florida in 2005.  A bill was introduced to place additional restrictions on the monitering of sexual offenders and preditors.

All above terms and acronyms are essentially referring to the same type laws, registration and requirements for sexual offenders and or preditors.

Whichever term or acronym you use it's usually state laws that apply when prosecuting a defendant. Many of these acts influenced legislation, but it's specific state legislation that rules the land within each state, unless they are being prosecuted on a federal level. It will be necessary to determine the particular laws for each state when determining specifics, but in general sex offender registration is the same idea nationwide. Exactly how it works varies state by state. States may or may not have had something in place on its own regarding sex offender registration prior to passage of any of these acts.

Click on the go link next to the state to get more detailed information

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