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


Circles South West featured by BBC Spotlight

Circles South West was recently interviewed by BBC South West TV journalist Anna Varle, with a featured article about Circles of Support & Accountability on BBC Spotlight in March 2019.

Anna interviewed one of our Dorset volunteers who has participated in three Circles and talked about the purpose of Circles and the importance of the service provided. She also spoke to a core member about his experience. Tim Price, Chair of Trustees, was also interviewed and highlighted the research showing that Circles significantly reduces the likelihood of sexual re-offending.

We asked our volunteer to share her experience of being interviewed for TV news and why she thought it was important to do so:

Number one on my list of things never to do was to deliberately appear on TV, especially after the day I turned up to work to find that most men in my office had watched me take my seat for a football match live on Sky Sports! If, however, Circles South West ask you for a favour, what are you going to do?

So, on a windy March afternoon, I sat on a bench in Poole Park, site of many a childhood weekend, explaining to a lovely BBC journalist what Circles is, how it works and why we do what we do. To be honest it was an enormous privilege to give voice to my fellow volunteers. Hopefully I clarified some misapprehensions about people who commit sexual offences, the impact of conviction on the rest of their lives and how Circles changes lives.

I explained the referral process, how we conduct meetings, maintaining the balance between support and accountability, reporting concerns to our coordinators and of course that studies have shown that our works is very successful.

Finally, I think it’s worth sharing how awkward it is being filmed in a public park by a BBC camera man. I lost count of the number of times I thoughtfully walked towards the edge of the lake and gazed meaningfully into the distance, worst of all, several times I had to walk towards the camera man, he walking backwards filming my trainers!

I hope very much that I’ve done everyone proud and that the piece as a whole has made at least a few viewers think about our work, and who knows, maybe garner a few more volunteers.

A big thank you to our volunteer, core member and our Chair for taking the time to help publicise the work we do and why we do it.

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