WHO WE ARE
We are a network of Circles Providers supported by an overarching organisation called Circles UK which works to oversee the development and effective operation of Circles of Support and Accountability. Circles UK also audit and review all Circles to ensure that they are of a high standard. You can volunteer in an area that is convenient for you as there are Circles Providers in: Cumbria and Lancashire, East of England, Greater Manchester, Leicestershire and Rutland, London (Circles South East), London (Respond), Merseyside, Midlands, North East England, North Wales, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, South East England, South West England, South Wales, West Wales and Gwent and Yorkshire, Humberside and Lincolnshire.
Featuring: Dame Esther Rantzen DBE, Judge John Samuels QC and The Lord Blair of Boughton
Featuring: A Core Member's perspective
We live in a society where sexual abuse provokes powerful responses within communities. The successful rehabilitation and reintegration of sex offenders requires consideration of their needs, the victim’s needs and those of the community. Social isolation and emotional loneliness are key factors in increasing the risk of reoffending.
Identifying suitable members of the public to monitor and support a sex offender in the community has proved to be an extremely effective way of reducing this risk. Volunteers are trained, supported and supervised by appropriate professionals throughout the period of contact with offenders.
Circles of Support and Accountability consist of 4-5 volunteers who meet regularly over a period of about a year with the person whom we call the Core Member to do the following:
- Trained volunteers from the community can provide a way out, to keep people accountable for their behaviour while giving them confidence, skills and practical assistance for a more positive and less isolated future. In ‘Circles of Support and Accountability’ supportive volunteers work with the ‘Core Members’ to help them find a sense of value and belonging, challenging them where needed, so that they can then live safely within the community. Evidence collected over the years as well as common sense shows that Circles are a proven way to help people break the cycle of offending for good and to prevent further victims of sexual harm
- Helping a sex offender to reintegrate responsibly into the community.
- Acting as a support and safety mechanism for both sex offender and the community.
- Enhancing public safety when there is a perceived element of risk.
But wouldn’t we be safer if we just left them alone?
While a desire to avoid or get rid of high risk sex offenders is an understandable reaction, it is counterproductive as a long-term strategy. Social isolation has proved to be a major trigger for reoffending.
Our neighbourhoods are not safer places when we choose to reject or ignore offenders. A Circle of Support and Accountability serves as a supportive ‘community’ for an offender in the midst of fear, hostility and isolation. At the same time, it acts as a responsible ‘community’ concerned that safety is not compromised.