Delivering circles of support and accountability to protect communities from sexual harm and sexual reoffending


As we say goodbye to Bob, we welcome Alastair: reflections on a volunteer training weekend

Last weekend, we gathered for our bi monthly training and assessment event for potential new volunteers for Circles South West. As usual, the venue was warm and welcoming with plenty of tea and coffee to revive those of us who had to get up at the crack of dawn!

The delegates arrived early as, unusually, the motorway seemed clear and smooth running. Everyone immediately entered into the spirit of cooperation and camaraderie and this atmosphere continued throughout the weekend. Workbooks and manuals were eagerly read and exercises completed with enthusiasm.

For those of you who have already completed the training event, you might wish to know that this was the last one at which Bob made an appearance. He has been consigned to……well, we are not sure- maybe he has completed his Circle, finished his Licence and is now leading a law abiding life, happily settled in a new, appropriate relationship with a woman to whom he has disclosed his past offending and, despite this, she has wished to continue to see him. Maybe he has found a new job, more suited to his undoubted (!) high intelligence and abilities and he has achieved some of the ‘goods’ on his wheel of life. On the other hand, maybe he has been recalled for failing to disclose a developing relationship with a woman with children. Let’s go for the former scenario, in the spirit of optimism, but to also reflect the fact that, those people who sexually offend and have the benefit of a Circle to support and hold them to account are 88% less likely to be rearrested for a sexual offence (Duwe 2018)

Our new Core Member is Alastair, a very different person from Bob, although there are some similarities (both work in a factory, both cite the absence of love, intimacy and friendships in their good life plans, both acknowledge they manipulate people). We are looking forward to the first appearance of Alastair at our next training in May. If you have not yet volunteered but are reading this and it has sparked your curiosity, please contact us for more details. All who attended last weekend would, I am sure, recommend the experience. The feedback demonstrated that they learned such a lot but that they also enjoyed the training and can’t wait to get started in their first Circle.


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