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Circles of Support and Accountability

Circles of Support and Accountability build safer communities through local volunteers working with sex offenders to minimise alienation, support reintegration and so prevent sexual reoffending

We are one of the original Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) pilot projects with our first Circles starting in 2002. Together with the Hampshire and Thames Valley Circles Project we helped to pioneer and establish CoSA in the UK.

Since then, we have set up and maintained more than 65 Circles across the UK. Our Circles have been funded by a mixed economy of central funding, grants, charitable trusts, and collaboration with statutory agencies, MAPPA and other community and faith groups.

Our Circles are designed to offer support to the core member at the same time as holding him/her accountable for their actions. Volunteers act as a safety net for both the core member and the community.

We believe that by helping the core member to develop healthy adult relationships, it is possible to maximise the chances of the core member successfully reintegrating into society and living a "good life", preventing further harm to children. To achieve this, we work collaboratively with statutory agencies, MAPPA and Circles UK the umbrella organisation for CoSA.

We are a full member of Circles UK and as such comply with the Circles UK "Code of Practice" and "Practice Guidelines".

Our staff have a wealth of experience in all aspects of Circle activity including volunteer recruitment and training and core member selection and assessment.

What is a Circle?

For some men and women who have sexually offended, trying to re-settle into the community, particularly following a period of imprisonment, may be a daunting prospect. They may feel isolated and fearful, and in need of practical support; for example in finding work or managing their money. They may also struggle to rebuild a full and meaningful life whilst managing their on-going and potentially risky behaviour.

A 'Circle of Support and Accountability' is formed around the offender - in Circles, called the 'Core Member' - by volunteers from the local community. First developed by the Mennonite Church in Canada, they aim to address the safety concerns of the community whilst helping the Core Member to lead a fulfilling and offence-free life. Circles work with Police, Probation, local Multi Agency Public Protection Panels and other professionals working in the field of child protection.

How do Circles work?

Each Circle consists of 4-6 volunteers and a Core Member. It aims to provide a supportive social network that also requires the Core Member to take responsibility (be 'accountable') for his/her on-going risk management. The Circle meets weekly and volunteers also spend individual time with the Core Member, either face to face or by phone. The Circle provides support and practical guidance in such things as developing social skills and accessing benefits. It also helps the Core Member find hobbies and interests. Its 'life' is initially for 12 months, but may extend beyond this for as long as the Core Member and volunteers consider it useful.

Current Service Delivery; Circles Midlands.

We are actively running Circles in the Midlands region, covering the West Midlands, West Mercia, Warwickshire and Staffordshire. Circles Midlands is now a partnership between The Lucy Faithfull Foundation, the four local area MAPPA SMB's (Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements; Strategic Management Boards) and Central England Quakers. We are committed to the development of Circles and the delivery of the CoSA model in the Midlands area.

Being a volunteer

Qualifications and/or previous experience are not required to become a Circles volunteer. We have had volunteers from all walks of life, from a barrister to a vicar and from a furniture-maker to a young mum. Circles need people with a mature outlook on life generally. Anyone wanting to volunteer will be given full Circles UK accredited training and will be DBS checked. Once you are part of CoSA you will have access to on-going support and training from Circles Midlands.

Contact us

If you would like to discuss a Circle referral for a potential core member or just want more information about our Circles, how to volunteer and where we are recruiting please contact us:

01372 847160

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Contact us

2 Birch House
Harris Business Park
Hanbury Road
Stoke Prior
B60 4DJ

Tel: 01527 591922
Fax: 01527 575 939

For help with a child sexual abuse issue, call our
Stop It Now! helpline on 0808 1000 900 or
click here for our secure messaging service.

The Lucy Faithfull Foundation

The Lucy Faithfull Foundation is a Registered Charity No. 1013025, and is a company limited by guarantee, Registered in England No. 2729957.

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