Laws specifying that individuals, groups and communities should be notified when sex offenders are living in their areas are now widespread in the USA. Indeed, forty-five American states have enacted community notification legislation, with even more states having laws that require released sex offenders to register with the local police. There is now considerable public debate and pressure to introduce such laws into Australia. The purpose of this article is to examine these notification laws and to evaluate their effectiveness. The article then discusses some of the direct and indirect consequences of notification laws, particularly as they relate to human rights issues.