Child Sexual Abuse critically evaluates the development of policy and legislative measures to control sex offenders. The last fifteen years has seen increasing concern on the part of the government, criminal justice agencies, the media and the public, regarding child sexual abuse. This concern has been prompted by a series of events including cases inviting media attention and involving the abduction, sexual abuse and murder of young children. The response to this wave of child sexual abuse revelation has been to introduce increasingly punitive legislation regarding the punishment and control of sex offenders (sex offenders are the only group of offenders in British legal history to have their own act), both in custody and in the community. But this response, it is argued here, has developed in a reactionary way to media and public anxiety regarding the punishment and control of sex offenders (who have abused children) and the perceived threat of such offenders in the community.