You've gone down to the police station, filled out your form, paid your fee. Your picture is, or soon will be, up on the website. The reality hits you. You're on a public registry. Now what? What does it mean? How will it (or does it) affect your life? What do you do now?
There is a common misconception that being on the registry simply means you have to go fill out a form at the police station and have your information on a website. Most people don't understand that there is so much more to it than that.
Being on the registry means that you have rules, restrictions, and requirements that most others do not have. These rules and restrictions affect where you can live, where you can work, where you can and cannot be, and who you associated with.
Even more, being on the registry impacts many other aspects of your life. Your friendships, your intimate relationships, your participation in common activities like going to church or belonging to social organizations, and how you are seen by your neighbors are all affected by your being on a public registry.
At times, it may feel overwhelming. You may feel like you are caged, or trapped with no way out. It may feel like everyone is looking at you, like everyone knows, that everywhere you go, people will find out. You might find yourself wanting to retreat into the safety of your home and not come out. You may even fear for your safety if you leave your house.
These are very common experiences for people who find themselves on the registry. Most people eventually figure out a way to cope with being on the registry. Some continue to struggle with it for a very long time.
On this website, you will find answers to many questions you may have about being on a public registry. You will also find strategies, offered by others who, like you, have to deal with being on the registry.