Council on Sex Offender Treatment Civil Commitment of the Sexually Violent Predator - Definitions of the Texas SVP Act

Sexually violent predators are committed not convicted. The intent of the law is to provide intensive outpatient rehabilitation and treatment to the sexually violent predator. Civil commitment is different than a criminal sentence in that a criminal sentence has a definitive time frame. Civil commitment continues until it is determined that the person’s behavioral abnormality has changed to the extent that the person is no longer likely to engage in a predatory act of sexual violence.

The Legislature defined a Sexually Violent Predator (Title 11, Texas Health & Safety Code 841.003) as a person is a sexually violent predator if the person is a repeat sexually violent offender and suffers from a behavioral abnormality that makes the person likely to engage in a predatory act of sexual violence A person is a repeat sexually violent offender if the person is convicted of more than one sexually violent offense and a sentence is imposed for at least one of those offenses.

Predatory Act means an act directed toward individuals, including family members for the primary purpose of victimization.

Sexually motivated conduct (Title 11, Texas Health & Safety Code, 841.002) was defined as any conduct involving the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person immediately before, during, or immediately after the commission of an offense.

Texas civil commitment statute requires a “behavior abnormality” which means a congenital or acquired condition that, by affecting a person’s emotional or volitional capacity, predisposes the person to commit a sexually violent offense, to the extent that the person becomes a menace to the health and safety of another person (Title 11, Texas Health & Safety Code 841.002).

A sexually violent offense is defined as (Title 11 Texas Health and Safety Code Section 841.002) Indecency with a Child, Sexual Assault, Aggravated Sexual Assault, Sexually Motivated Capital Murder, Sexually Motivated Murder, Aggravated Kidnapping with Intent, Burglary with Intent, any attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation of the latter, or any offense under the law of another state, federal law, or the Uniform Code of Military Justice that contains elements substantially similar.

Last updated April 5, 2010