Circles South West’s 10th Anniversary
It’s our birthday! Circles South West has been protecting children and vulnerable adults from sexual abuse and sexual violence for 10 years.
10 years ago, we established the charity, extending Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) across the South West, building on the successful projects already running in Devon and Dorset. Since then, hundreds of amazing volunteers alongside committed trustees and staff have dedicated their time and talents to help us prevent sexual abuse and create safer communities across the region.
With funding and support from statutory organisations and a wide range of Trusts and Foundations, alongside close and effective working relationships with police, probation, youth offending teams, social care and health, we have provided almost 200 CoSA across the region. In more recent years have adapted the model to provide specialist CoSA for young people (10 years plus) and for adults with learning disabilities. We have also extended the traditional community model to provide CoSA pre-release – through the gate- and on into the community.
Independent evaluation demonstrates that CoSA work: they are proven to reduce reoffending and facilitate safe integration for those who have been convicted of sexual offences. The most recent longitudinal research using Randomised Controlled Trials found an 88% reduction in the risk of re-arrest for a new sexual offence for adults who had been involved in a Circle. Research in Practice has evaluated 85 CoSA delivered by Circles South West since 2017 with encouraging outcomes reported.
Complementing our core work, we have more recently extended our offer to include individual and group-work programmes for people who have sexually offended, with a particular emphasis on tackling online sexual offending (Circles South West is the Approved Provider of ‘Inform Plus’ and ‘Circles Reboot’ across the region). We also provide ‘Inform’ and ‘Breaking the Cycle’, for non-offending partners, family members and friends of those who have sexually offended.
Circles South West also provides specialist training and consultancy for professionals working with people who have sexually offended or with harmful sexual behaviour.
We want to extend a huge thank you to everyone that has been involved over the years and have helped us to keep doing what we do. We’re excited for what the future holds!
We will be marking this wonderful occasion with current volunteers, funders and partners at our celebratory conference in 2021.
Here’s to the next 10 years!