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



27th March 2024

Volunteers Needed!

Our Vision… No More Victims of sexual abuse Driven by an aspiration to prevent sexual abuse, Circles South West is a professional, forward-thinking independent charity, led by capable and committed […]

28th February 2024

Directory Launch: services supporting family and friends of people arrested for online sexual offending

In 2021, there were over 850 arrests across the UK for accessing child sexual abuse material every single month. Many of those arrested will have children of their own or […]

7th February 2024

The importance of victim services: Supporting our allies in a time of need

Recently the Centre for Expertise in Child Sexual Abuse reported that victims of child sexual abuse were waiting months to get support, highlighting the under-investment in victim and sexual abuse […]

6th February 2024

Community Events supporting Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness week

Tim Johnson and Jackie Citron have provided training for 30 professionals in ‘Working with young people with harmful sexual behaviour’, arranged by Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole (BCP) Council Community Safety […]

5th February 2024

Circles South West marks Sexual Violence Awareness Week

Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week is the UK’s national week to raise awareness of sexual abuse and violence. It provides an opportunity for anyone who wants to use […]

9th January 2024

Guest Blog from Inside Time featuring Sir Terry Waite

‘No church, no friends – how can I reintegrate?’ Life after prison can be tough, especially for people convicted of sexual offences. Here, the humanitarian Sir Terry Waite calls for […]

6th December 2023

Why are volunteers central to the Circles model?

Professor McCartan discusses communities, integration and the value of pro-social engagement on desistance. He believes volunteers understand the concerns of the community but also understand the concerns of the core […]

16th November 2023

Circles of Support and Accountability: Case Study

The Core Member (CM) is an adult male who was convicted of serious sexual offences together with his stepfather, including 4 counts of rape and 3 counts of indecent assault, […]

2nd November 2023

Inform Plus Programme & Evaluation

Why we were involved: In response to discussions with police officers in Devon and Cornwall who are responsible for the management of those with convictions of a sexual nature (MOSOVOs), […]

14th October 2023

Long Serving Volunteers Mark 15 Year Anniversary

In 2008, a remarkable venture commenced under the NSPCC. Jamie Stephenson, now Circles South West’s Circles Coordinator, acted as the NSPCC’s Coordinator for their new project working with people who […]

27th September 2023

‘Shore’: A Guest Blog by the Lucy Faithfull Foundation

WHY DO WE NEED SHORE? Research shows that under-18s are responsible for one-third of sexual offences against young people in the UK. Shore’s mission is to address this pressing public […]

25th September 2023

AGM Celebrates Volunteers

The Annual General Meeting took place, as always, in Taunton – the mid point of our region and we were delighted to welcome so many people, despite the terrible weather […]

30th August 2023

“Circles South West maintains very high standards of provision” Independent Compliance Review 2023

Circles Providers are reviewed bi-annually to by Circles UK to ensure compliance with the Code of Practice for CoSA.  Circles South West has recently undergone a compliance review and we […]

26th July 2023

Gloucestershire volunteers needed

In Gloucestershire as at March 2022  (most recent figures available) there were 623 people on the Sex Offenders Register.  Research confirms that in 2021 over 850 people were arrested every […]

13th July 2023

Circles Coordinator Induction Training

Sam talked about how a large part of the focus was on understanding exactly what it is we, as Circles providers, actually ask of our volunteers. “There was a strong […]

3rd July 2023

Bournemouth Crown Court Open Day

The event, supported by Dorset Criminal Justice Board, was arranged as an open day at the court so members of the public could find out more about how local justice […]

23rd June 2023

Volunteer Information Session Online

Circles South West are currently running a series of information sessions via Zoom, giving people curious about what we do and how they can help a chance to say hi […]

17th June 2023

An Evaluation of 131 Circles of Support and Accountability

Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) are a community-based approach aimed at preventing sexual offences against children, young people and vulnerable adults. A ‘circle’ is formed of a person who […]

1st June 2023

Breaking The Cycle Explained

We know that many men who have sexually offended return to live with their families or establish a new relationship where children are living. Partners of these men play a […]

5th April 2023

Circles Europe Mini Conference 2023

The theme of the conference was Online Sexual Abuse and Circles Europe welcomes staff and volunteers from across several countries; including the UK, the Netherlands, Latvia and even as far […]

1st April 2023

CoSA Roundup 2022-23

How many Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) did you provide? We coordinated 49 CoSA for 49 individual adults and young people, 26 of which were newly established in year […]

30th March 2023

Listen in! Circles South West Podcast

In discussion with Sara Radford, Circle Coordinator, you will hear first-hand about their motivation to volunteer with us, their learning and thoughts about how this volunteering role has impacted both […]

23rd March 2023

Devon volunteers honoured by High Sheriff

The award was presented on 22nd March 2023 in Exeter to four of our long serving volunteers who collected it on behalf of the entirety of the Devon volunteer team. […]

18th March 2023

The challenges of community risk management

Community risk management is always a difficult balancing act, and we are grateful to the supervising agents and clinicians who make it happen! On one level it involves preventing someone […]

2nd March 2023

The benefits of volunteering

A five year study into Circles, under take by Research in Practice, found that ‘Circles volunteers were overwhelmingly positive about their experience with CSW’ with a fantastic 88% agreeing with […]

20th January 2023

BREAKING THE CYCLE: supporting non-offending partners

Breaking the Cycle is a group-work programme designed to inform, empower and offer support for the non-offending partner or ‘significant other’ of a man who has been accused or convicted […]

8th December 2022

Circles South West Launch New Podcast

Podcasts have surged in popularity in recent years with everyone from newscasters, entertainers and bloggers becoming involved. Subjects range from movies to politics to true crime – it is an […]

16th November 2022

Make Amends and Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice creates opportunities for people who have been harmed, or otherwise impacted by the actions of others, to communicate, directly or indirectly, with those who are responsible for that […]

15th November 2022

CoSA Norway visit Circles South West for practice sharing

Maren Riis and Lisa Gartner, probation officers from Norway, flew in from Oslo to attend the Circles South West training weekend and meet our new volunteers. They followed this up […]

1st November 2022

Circles South West adds to the team

We are delighted to introduce you to our two newest staff members who take up incredibly important positions in the team: Sam Wolf joins us as our Young People’s Coordinator […]

1st October 2022

The Henry Smith Charity profiles grantee Circles South West

Circles South West benefited from their ‘Improving Lives’ grant programme, with particular focus on their ‘Positive Choices’ priority area. The ‘Positive Choices’ area looks at “Helping people, whose actions or […]

6th September 2022

Circles ReBoot – A different Type of Circle?

  Circles ReBoot is a Circle of Support and Accountability devised by the Circles UK Team in 2021 specifically for Individuals who access Child Sexual Exploitation Material (CSEM). We all […]

15th August 2022

Poem from a core member

ODE TO A CIRCLE Every Thursday, I just can’t wait, to get to my circle, I won’t be late. Now what’s that topic, I was given last week, Ah yes, […]

20th July 2022

Circles Volunteers and Coordinators Across Europe Unite

Four countries were involved in the meeting, which took place on 18th July 2022: Latvia, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK, with both coordinators and volunteers attending. The meeting was […]

4th July 2022

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

This year we have been fortunate to access support from Lloyds Bank Foundation ‘Enhance Programme’ to further our equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) learning and planning for the future. We […]

17th June 2022

Did you know? Circles South West provides specialist consultancy support

It was during our recent involvement with Plymouth’s Together for Childhood (read the story here) that Devon and Cornwall’s Shekinah project Make Amends approached us to support their staff around […]

1st June 2022

Circles South West Celebrates Our Volunteers

With now almost 200 volunteers with us, it’s important to recognise each and every one of them – our volunteers give up their free time, deal with difficult situations, have […]

26th May 2022

A Road Less Travelled

When an online sexual offence relating to children has been committed or suspected of having been committed, where there are children living in the household, a referral is made to […]

28th April 2022

New staff vacancies page

Due to our increasing reach across the south west and our diversifying projects we find ourselves once again recruiting. This has become an often enough occurrence that we have decided […]

29th March 2022

Volunteer Vacancies – We’re Recruiting Now

Our Vision… No More Victims of sexual abuse Driven by an aspiration to prevent sexual abuse, Circles South West is a professional, forward-thinking independent charity, led by capable and committed […]

18th March 2022

Circles South West Marks National Child Exploitation Awareness Day on 18th March

Working with people who have committed acts of sexual harm is a controversial issue. It understandably triggers strong reactions in most people, and particularly for victims and survivors of sexual […]

10th March 2022

Circles South West has joined Facebook

Circles South West is now live on Facebook! The page will keep you up to date on all the important news from Circles and feature interesting and relevant links to […]

11th February 2022

Has someone close to you been involved in online sexual offending?

Ernesettle in Plymouth is piloting a ground breaking new approach to prevent child sexual abuse. ‘Together for Childhood’ brings together the local community and partner agencies to prevent harmful sexual […]

7th February 2022

Sexual Violence & Sexual Abuse Awareness Week: Plymouth StopItNow Campaign

In their 2021 threat assessment, the National Crime Agency estimated between 550,000 and 850,000 people in the UK pose a sexual risk to children, both online and offline, with evidence […]

25th January 2022

Guest Blog: Re-integrating people who have committed a sexual offence

  Improving society’s attitudes and involving communities in rehabilitation programmes is key to preventing repeat sexual offences, say UWE Bristol researchers. Professor of Criminology Kieran McCartan worked with statutory and […]

13th January 2022

‘Sex and the law’ workshops for young people

In May 2021, a South West School contacted Circles South West requesting delivery of a series of educational workshops in relation to sex and the law for all boys in […]

7th December 2021

Young People’s Service: A Year of Two Halves

Due to the escalation in Covid cases across the UK in January, most of the new Young People’s (YP) circles planned for the start of the year had to be […]

25th November 2021

The Challenge of Establishing a Through the Gate Prison Circle

In January 2019 Circles South West received funding to establish the first Prison/Through the Gate Circles of Support and Accountability, to lead the development and delivery of a new pilot […]

12th November 2021

It’s official! Her Majesty’s Inspector of Probation endorses the effectiveness of Circles of Support & Accountability

I am hoping that it will not have escaped your notice that Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) has been highlighted in the latest report from Her Majesty’s Inspector of […]

19th October 2021

The Life of a Circles Coordinator

Being a Circles coordinator is a multi-layered role that requires a specialist approach and a lot of experience in criminal justice. It is a careful balancing act between choosing the […]

15th October 2021

Vacancy: Devon Young People’s Coordinator

Have you worked with young people with harmful sexual behaviour? Are you social work, youth justice, probation or similarly qualified? Do you want to work for an innovative, award winning […]

8th October 2021

Is Circles South West a Restorative Justice project?

We are often asked about the connection between Circles of Support and Accountability and Restorative Justice. Circles do not practice a specifically restorative model. However, the reason that this is […]

17th September 2021

What a difference a circle makes

The core member had grown up in challenging circumstances – from a very young age, he had struggled with a disability, with emotional and learning difficulties. Cut off from any […]

1st September 2021

Circles South West is recruiting new staff

Circles South West is an award winning charity that prevents sexual abuse by reducing the risk of sexual re-offending. Circles enable volunteers to positively impact on the safe integration of […]

10th August 2021

Circles South West celebrate a successful summer programme

Over 50 delegates attended either the ‘Working with People Who Have Sexually Harmed’ training or ‘Living & Working In a Pornified World’ training. The courses were delivered by our experienced […]

27th July 2021

Final places available on upcoming Bournemouth training

Circles South West’ popular and successful summer training courses are coming to a close, with only one event left to run. ‘Working With People Who Have Sexually Harmed: A Theoretical […]

20th July 2021

Circles South West appoints trustees and staff

Our New Trustees: Our three new trustees bring a range of different experience and will be fantastic additions to our Board. Leonie Cole: Leonie is a lifelong resident of the […]

16th July 2021

Circles South West achieves 97.7% compliance with National Standards

The Compliance Review included submission of a substantial evidence file, 3 x 1 day site visits (separate sites) and interviews with 22 individuals including service users, staff, volunteers, trustees, and […]

5th July 2021

Circles South West’s Independent Evaluator Publishes Core Member Outcomes 2021

The RiP research highlights the statistically significant impact of Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) in reducing dynamic risk factors associated with sexual recidivism over the life of a CoSA, […]

17th June 2021

Has someone close to you been involved in online sexual offending?

Ernesettle in Plymouth is piloting a ground breaking new approach to prevent child sexual abuse. ‘Together for Childhood’ brings together the local community and partner agencies to prevent harmful sexual […]

4th June 2021

Amazon Smile now available in the app

Amazon have announced that their charity giving programme, Amazon Smile, is finally available when you make purchases through their app. Previously you could only take advantage of the scheme if […]

1st June 2021

Celebrating Volunteers’ Week 2021

Today marks the beginning of the annual national Volunteers’ Week, celebrated across the country to highlight the wonderful and selfless work volunteers do and what they contribute to society. Circles […]

28th May 2021

Circles South West Training Events for Professionals, Summer 2021

These 1 day training courses are being held face to face across the region to be as accessible to as many delegates as possible – with two interesting and highly […]

26th May 2021

Introducing Circles: ReBoot

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) states, “what was already a recognised phenomenon has now cemented into a grave and widespread threat to our children”. The IWF processed a record number […]

13th May 2021

Circles South West To Expand Team

As 2021 gets underway properly we are so pleased to be in a position to add new staff members to our team. We are recruiting the following: Circles Coordinator, Dorset. […]

26th March 2021

Guest Blog on Sibling Sexual Abuse

Last month Peter Yates and I joined the CSA Centre team to host a virtual roundtable for policy makers and professionals, reflecting on our latest publication: Sibling Sexual Abuse: a […]

17th March 2021

Young person’s circle journey during lockdown

This is a testing time for Circles, when many of the things we and our core members want to do are not possible. My current Young Adult Circle had its […]

10th March 2021

Circles South West featured in the High Sheriff of Dorset’s booklet

George Streatfeild, the High Sheriff of Dorset said: At my High Sheriff Declaration on 27th March 2020, I summarised my ambition for the year as being to “seek out and […]

7th March 2021

CSW Looking to appoint new trustee

Our trustees play a vital role in making sure that Circles South West achieves its core purpose. They strategically oversee the management and administration of the charity, as well as […]

5th March 2021

Surviving as a small charity in the pandemic

A recent paper from the Lloyds Bank Foundation The Value of Small in a Big Crisis: the distinctive contribution, value and experiences of smaller charities in England and Wales during […]

5th March 2021

Sad loss of much loved volunteer

Tony was one of the first volunteers to be recruited into Circles in Devon back in 2008 when it was still a pilot project delivered by the NSPCC. However, prior […]

23rd February 2021

Circles Coordinator featured on Chaos TV for High Sheriff Briefing

Jamie Stephenson, our Devon & Cornwall coordinator, sat down with Kate to discuss the projects taking place in Cornwall and how Circles South West came into being in the county. […]

10th February 2021

ONS publishes statistical bulletin on children’s online behaviour

Findings from the bulletin uses data from the 10 to 15-year-old’s Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW). Main points Almost 9 in 10 children (89%) aged 10 to 15 […]

26th January 2021

Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy

Last week [22nd January 2021] the Home Office released its new strategy to protect children from sexual abuse. The new strategy is a comprehensive look at the policies and practices […]

16th December 2020

What do we do about people who have committed serious offences?

Let me start by asking you a question. Just bring your gut reaction to mind. It’s about the behaviour of people who have committed serious sexual offences, and ended up […]

9th December 2020

BREAKING THE CYCLE: supporting non-offending partners

Breaking the Cycle is a group-work programme designed to inform, empower and offer support for the non-offending partner or ‘significant other’ of a man who has been accused or convicted […]

1st December 2020

To break the cycle of offending we must work with those who commit crime

Commissioning services for victims of crime in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is a big part of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s job and often this is the […]

20th November 2020

NSPCC reports that Instagram most recorded platform used in child grooming crimes during lockdown

Freedom of Information responses from 38 police forces in England and Wales show that 1,220 offences of sexual communication with a child were recorded in the first 3 months of […]

19th November 2020

Circles South West features on Radio Devon

BBC Radio Devon covered the subject of sexual offending on 19th November on their breakfast show in response to a recent report showing that there are more people convicted of […]

6th November 2020

The Impact of COVID-19 on Circles of Support and Accountability

Circles of Support and Accountability [CoSA] are groups of trained community volunteers who support people convicted of a sexual offence (usually contact offences against children) to integrate back into the […]

2nd November 2020

About Circles South West’s Board of Trustees, marking National Trustees’ Week 2020

Setting up a charity and obtaining funds is a good start but in order to actually deliver a service you need to make sure it is well run, sustainable organisation. […]

22nd October 2020

CSW trustee publishes book on sexual harm

Diane Wills, trustee of Circles South West, talks to us about what made her write her latest book on working with sex offenders. Published this month we asked her to […]

21st October 2020

Circles South West Commended in Howard League Community Award

Successful schemes that reduce crime and transform lives for the better received national recognition on 20 October as the winners of the 2020 Howard League Community Awards were announced. The […]

1st October 2020

Centre of Expertise on child sexual abuse publishes annual report

Here at Circles South West we were keen to read the report published by The Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse in July 2020: Key messages from research on […]

8th September 2020

Circles South West’s 10th Anniversary

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 […]

1st September 2020

Circles South West’s Young People’s Service shortlisted for Howard League Community Award

Back in 2016 we adapted the traditional Circles model to meet the needs of young people 14 years plus, and last year secured funding to work with children from the […]

27th August 2020

The Power of Human to Human Relationships

It’s not systems, processes or procedures that change people. It is not even programmes or courses. In my view it is people that change people and this is done by […]

26th June 2020

Circles South West’s Covid-19 Recovery Plan, June 2020

Subsequent action plans set out our response to the lockdown restrictions, including furloughing 7 of our 9 staff, alongside alternative, creative service provision. This ensured the best possible chance of […]

16th May 2020

Covid-19 Action Plan (Phase 3), from 16th May

In accordance with Government guidance, Circles South West’s initial 30-day action plan applied the principles of social distancing across all aspects of our work i.e. avoiding non-essential contact with other […]

14th May 2020

Guest webinar discusses CoSA in Australia

The presence of people who pose a risk to the community has, understandably, been a concern to communities across time, place, and culture. What can communities (and the concerned professionals […]

17th April 2020

Online pornography use during the COVID-19 pandemic: Should we worry? Part 1

Websites like Pornhub are part of a daily routine for more than 120 million people. What happens when our daily routines are gravely disrupted due to an unseen, frightening worldwide […]

16th April 2020

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Action Plan, phase 2 – with effect from 16th April 2020

Action plan extension and interim changes to personnel Since our previous communication, restrictions have significantly tightened. We do not yet know how long the UK will remain in ‘lockdown’. Our […]

30th March 2020

Arts project highlights work from prisoners: Unlock the talent inside.

At Circles South West our circles work hard to support and hold to account core members, and one of the ways we do support is to help develop interests and […]

17th March 2020

Coronavirus (Covid-19) 30 day Action Plan with effect from 17th March 2020

In drawing up our action plan, the health and well-being of our service users, volunteers and staff are paramount whilst we retain a practical commitment to alternative, creative service provision. […]

6th March 2020

Winter Lecture considers Circles of Support and Accountability, 25 years on

The lecture examined existing international research on Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) in order to theoretically define it and highlighted how CoSA fits into the prevention framework and how […]

26th February 2020

Circles South West talks to BBC Radio Wiltshire

Sara Radford, our coordinator for Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, spoke eloquently to host Graham Seaman about Circles South West; what we do and what we want to achieve, and in particular, […]

10th February 2020

Our Young People’s Service is growing…

As our YPS expands across the region, we are now accepting referrals for a younger cohort in some areas, from 10 years upwards. All Circles of Support and Accountability for […]

30th January 2020

Circles South West recruits new Devon & Cornwall Coordinator

Working alongside Jamie Stephenson, John joins us after a long and illustrious career in probation. A professionally qualified Probation Officer, John has extensive knowledge and experience in criminal justice, gained […]

17th January 2020

Support CSW while you shop

AmazonSmile offers 0.5% of the net purchase price to charities and Circles South West has signed up to be one of the recipients. To support us sign up with AmazonSmile […]

6th January 2020

Circles South West welcomes new Circles Coordinator for Dorset

Neil Claughton has joined us as the Circles Coordinator for Dorset and will manage our existing Circles in the County as well as leading on our newest initiative, Prison/Through The […]

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