CoSA Canada is the Canadian national organization for Circles of Support and Accountability. We are a Canadian-made restorative justice program for individuals who have committed serious sexual offences. CoSA allows the community to play a direct role in the restoration, reintegration, and risk management of people who are often seen with only fear and anger.
CoSA began in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1994, with the release of Charles Taylor. He had committed over 20 sexual offences and was nearing the end of his fourth sentence. He was also low-functioning, had been chronically abused, and spent most of his adult life in jail.
“Charlie,” and others like him, have always been hard to deal with. To ensure our safety, they are usually kept in prison to the end of their sentences and don’t receive parole. The result is that they are often released without any supports or effective monitoring.
CoSA fills this gap by providing trained volunteers to act as friends. They provide the supports to help ex-offenders succeed, hold them accountable for their behaviours, and work closely with police and mental health professionals to raise the alarm if necessary.
Many peer-reviewed studies have been done on CoSA, all showing the same outcome: dramatically lower rates of reoffending. These findings have encouraged the United Kingdom, United States, European Union, Brazil, South Korea and others to adopt our model.
The Purpose of CoSA Canada
- Provide an association of CoSA programs in Canada;
- Support CoSA in Canada and foster mutual accountability;
- Develop and promote public education initiatives;
- Create a national voice for CoSA;
- Advocate for legislative reform;
- Collaborate with like-minded agencies, services and governing bodies, and seek leading-edge practices in the furtherance of these objects.