What does a circle look like?
A “Circle” involves a group of three to five screened, trained volunteers who commit themselves to support and hold accountable the ‘Core Member’ who is typically assessed as being a high risk to re-offend. Because he has been held to the end of his sentence, he is returning to the community with little or no support available to him and often with much media attention.
The Circle meets together regularly and is guided by a written and signed agreement called a Covenant which outlines the responsibilities and expectations of the Core Member and his Volunteers and includes the ‘promise’ of confidentiality as well as the limits of confidentiality. The Volunteers provide assistance with re-entry challenges (housing, employment, medical needs, etc). The Core Member commits to open communication with the group regarding his identified risk factors and triggers, problematic behaviour, attitudes, etc., all in an effort to end his pattern of sexual offending and to increase public safety.
Volunteer members come from all walks of life, ranging in age from 21 and up. They are professionally supported by CoSA staff, Board of Directors and advisors and work in conjunction with community agencies and treatment providers like psychologists, parole or probation officers, the police, and courts.
Overall, the goals of the Circle are to:
- Support the Core Member’s community reintegration by facilitating his practical needs (i.e. access to medical services, social assistance/financial means, seeking employment/affordable housing, etc.) and by providing a consistent network of emotional support;
- Develop constructive and pro-social strategies and solutions to everyday problems and concerns as well as celebrate successes, and
- Challenge the Core Member’s behaviours and attitudes that may be associated with his offending cycle.