Circles of Support and Accountability
What are Circles of Support and Accountability?
Circles of Support and Accountability aim to rehabilitate people who have committed sexual offences, and help them to not offend again.
Each circle includes 4 to 6 trained volunteers from the local community who help to support one person who has sexually offended. The volunteers commit to meeting with the core member for 12 to 18 months.
hOW DO cIRCLES WORK?
The circle provides practical skills and support to the Core Member according to their needs, which might include social skills, finding work or hobbies, or looking for suitable accommodation. They will also receive disclosure about the Core Members offending behaviour, and support them to recognise unhelpful thoughts, feelings and patterns of behaviour which might link to their risk of offending, and encourage them to develop more healthy strategies.
The Core Member will be subject to probation oversight within the criminal justice system. Volunteers are supported by a professional Circle Coordinator, who liaises with other key professionals working with the Core Member, including police and probation.
Find out more on the Circles UK website.
DO CIRCLES WORK?
Successfully rehabilitating and reintegrating people with sexually harmful behaviour is key to reducing reoffending, because social isolation and emotional loneliness are key factors that increase the risk of reoffending.
For many people who have sexually offended, trying to re-settle into the community (particularly following a period of time in prison), can be daunting. Circles have proven to be an extremely effective way of reducing risk of reoffending.
Circles use the principles of restorative justice, in particular a belief in the importance of healthy relationships and an individual’s accountability for what they do and its effect upon others.
circles at the lucy faithfull foundation
Our Circles project covers the West Midlands, including:
- Herefordshire (Hereford)
- Shropshire (Shrewsbury and Telford)
- Staffordshire (Burton, Cannock, Leek, Stafford, Stoke on Trent, Tamworth)
- Warwickshire (Leamington Spa, Rugby and Nuneaton)
- Worcestershire (Kidderminster, Redditch, Worcester)
- West Midlands county (Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall, Wolverhampton)
For details of providers outside of this region, look at the Circles UK website.
interested in becoming a volunteer?
We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers who are committed to preventing sexual abuse to form circles in the West Midlands area. Circles reflect the communities they work in and we welcome volunteers from all kinds of backgrounds.
- You must be over the age of 18
- We will support you to apply for an Enhanced DBS check. There are some convictions which would preclude you from volunteering so; please speak to the Circles Coordinator for more information.
- We’ll provide training before you start volunteering, which usually takes place over 3 sessions. 2 are evening online sessions and 1 day in person.
Volunteers are then matched to a Core Member
Volunteer, and you won’t just do something amazing to prevent sexual abuse, but you will also develop your skills. Our volunteers are also eligible for volunteer discounts, covering everything from fashion, holidays, meals out and gym membership. Out of pocket expenses are also reimbursed.
Our next volunteer training event is due to take place on the 23rd and 30th November (online) and 2nd December in Birmingham. Further training events will be taking place every few months across the region.
UPCOMING VOLUNTEER INFORMATION SESSIONS
We are running volunteer information evenings for people interested in becoming volunteers. The sessions will provide a presentation about circles, and an opportunity to ask questions. No need to book, just log in!
“I started volunteering with Circles as I was interested in gaining experience working with people who had committed offences and preventing re-offending; what I gained as a volunteer was so much more!
"The experience of being trusted to be part of a reliable support system, getting to know somebody who might struggle with trust and is fearful of rejection, and then watching that person grow and change was brilliant. It was also great to work together with other volunteers and professionals who were compassionate and from all walks of life. Overall, it was the inspiration for me to train to be a psychologist.
"The best part was watching the Core Member make meaningful changes to his life. We know from research into sexual offending that social isolation and lack of healthy relationships can increase risk. We got to watch our Core Member improve his social skills and gain confidence in problem solving things like managing triggers and employment and accommodation difficulties.
"To anyone wondering about getting involved, you won’t regret it and you get lots of training and support! I feel privileged to have been allowed to do it twice.”
Antonia, West Midlands Circle volunteer
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