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

Volunteer

Volunteering with Circles South West

We operate in seven counties, see below for the towns in which most of our Circles take place. Don't see your area? Contact us to find out.

Volunteering with Circles South West

Volunteering with Circles South West

Volunteering with Circles South West is a challenging but rewarding role and people become involved for a number of reasons. Perhaps you are looking to make a valuable contribution to your community or you are interested in pursuing a career in criminal justice. Whatever the reason we have a number of projects running across the South West for you to become involved in.

Depending on your location we offer the opportunity to volunteer in:

Community Circles

Young People’s Circles

Circles for people with Intellectual Disabilities

Through the Gate/Prison Circles

All of these projects place the onus on support and accountability; allowing our Core Member to work towards an offence free life and reducing sexual harm in your community.

Use the tabs above to discover the different projects in more detail.

 

Available opportunities in:

Cornwall

Truro, Penzance

Devon

Plymouth, Exeter, Torbay

Somerset

Bridgwater, Taunton

Dorset

Bournemouth, Poole

Wiltshire

Swindon

Avon

Bristol, Bath

Apply Now

Adult Community Circles

Adult Community Circles

Community Circles for Adults 21+

Our Community Circles are for adults who have offended sexually. They will most likely have received a custodial sentence and have been released from prison. Core Members will request a Circle to help their transition back into the community and to support them and hold them accountable in their life.

Community Circles take place weekly, on the same day in the same location for a period of approx. 12 months. Circles meet in a central, risk-assessed location, such as a community venue, for between 1-2 hours. Meeting are usually held in the afternoons or evenings and it’s helpful if you provide us with a choice of days to work with so we can find an time suitable to all volunteers.

Circles are made up of 4-5 volunteers who’s aim is to support the safe re-integration into the community of a person who has been convicted of sexual offending and hold them to account for their behaviour. Volunteers work with a professional coordinator, specialists in their field, and have full training and ongoing support.

Circles require volunteers to submit minutes of the meeting as well as other small admin tasks and so we ask that you be IT proficient and bear in mind this will be a small extra time consideration on top of your meeting time.

Volunteer Role & Responsibilities

Adult circles are currently offered in Devon, Cornwall, Wiltshire & Dorset.

Available opportunities in:

Cornwall

Truro, Penzance

Devon

Plymouth, Exeter, Torbay

Dorset

Bournemouth, Poole

Gloucestershire

Cheltenham, Gloucester

Wiltshire

Swindon

Apply Now

Circles for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Circles for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Circles for people with intellectual disabilities (ID) are for adults with mild or borderline learning disabilities who have a history of harmful sexual behaviour.  Core Members with ID may have similar needs to other adults convicted of sexual offences; they may suffer from social isolation, emotional loneliness and experience difficulties accessing services. A Circle of Support and Accountability provides a valuable, additional tool for statutory services to support and hold to account an individual to prevent further sexual harm.

As a volunteer in an ID Circle, you can help the Core Member build and sustain relationships, develop a positive identity, increase self-worth and learn socially acceptable behaviour so they can integrate safely into their community. In addition you can assist with practical issues such as appointments, skills development and constructive use of time.

ID Circles may be more activity based, depending on your Core Member and volunteers should have a patient manner but still be able to set firm boundaries.

ID Circles are available across the South West (on a spot purchase basis) but currently (2021/2022) we only have funding to provide ID Circles for Core Members who live in the South Gloucestershire area.

 

Available opportunities in:

Avon

Bristol, Bath

Apply Now

Prison / Through the Gate Circles

Prison / Through the Gate Circles

Our ‘Through the Gate’ initiative begins before the Core Member’s release, with the Circle meeting with them whilst in custody. This helps ease the challenges of returning to the community and helps the Core Member plan and manage life safely as they resettle.

Once released from prison the Circle mimics the Community Circle with volunteers meeting with the Core Member in the community. Through the Gate Circles bring their challenges with organisation, as we may not know where the Core Member is to be released initially and our coordinators work hard to marry up suitable volunteers and Core Members.

Through the Gate Circles typically run for 18 months, with the Core Member receiving meetings for approx. 6 months in prison followed by a period of 12 months in the community.

Volunteers will be subject to extra security checks imposed by the prison as well as the Enhanced DBS we require for every volunteer. There will be further training also required. For this project you must have your own transport and be willing to travel.

It is the most intense of our Circles but allows volunteers to really follow the journey of the Core Member and make a real impact on their lives and those of the community.

Available opportunities in:

Devon

Plymouth, Exeter, Torbay

Somerset

Bridgwater, Taunton

Avon

Bristol, Bath

Apply Now

Young People’s Circles

Young People’s Circles

Circles for people under the age of 20

Circles of Support and Accountability are offered to young people aged between 10 and 20 who have engaged in harmful sexual harmful (HSB) and want to avoid future HSB. We work closely with partner agencies such as the Bristol Be Safe Service and local Youth Offending Teams. At the point of referral, the young person will have accepted responsibility for their HSB and be committed to leading a harm-free life.

A young person’s Circle comprises 3-4 volunteers who provide a supportive social network for the young person, reducing social isolation and supporting safe community integration. After getting to know their volunteers, the young person is encouraged to discuss any worries they may have with their Circle. The Circle also offers practical support and advice with issues like friendships, exams and employment and helps the young person to develop their self- confidence and social skills, thereby helping reduce their risk of re-offending.

A Circle meets for an hour or so each week and is tailored to the individual needs and risks of the young person. Initial meetings take place in a safe public venue such as a church or council building. Subsequent meetings are held in cafés, sports venues or at other activities such as climbing and bowling. Formal reviews involving professionals, take place on a quarterly basis and each Circle runs for a period of 12 months.

As a volunteer, we ask that you commit to attend meetings regularly and maintain good communication with your fellow volunteers and Circle coordinator. Fundamental to the success of a Circle is the ability to build a trusting, non-judgmental relationship with the young person (Core Member) and, from this foundation, to challenge and support the Core Member to ensure no further HSB. Circle meetings last for an hour with 15 minutes before to allow volunteers to prepare and 15 minutes afterwards to debrief without the Core Member being present.

Volunteers share responsibility for ensuring minutes are typed up after each meeting and are returned to the Circle coordinator within 48 hours. These minutes are then forwarded by the coordinator to the referring agency and relevant professionals.

Over the past 5 years, the Young People’s Service has expanded and we now offer YP Circles across South West England.

Available opportunities in:

Avon

Bristol, Bath

Apply Now

If you don’t see an opportunity near you, please contact us to see if we have availability in your area

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Our Funders

CirclesSW
CirclesSW
"Invisible harms and hierarchies of shame: the distinct challenges faced by children with a parent in prison for #SexualOffences" - an important read by Ross Hextall @ChildrenHandS #NoMoreVictims https://t.co/2UcsLxUPWZ https://t.co/F8VGExizcm
28 May 2022
CirclesSW
CirclesSW
CHECK: we are very grateful to @anonywrites for sharing her family's experience following 'The Knock' in this month's guest blog👇 https://t.co/Ln4ULrStsK
26 May 2022
CirclesSW
CirclesSW
Please help us to prevent sexual abuse in South West England #NoMoreVictims https://t.co/BgtnGaLVf4
26 May 2022