Circles UK

About Circles UK

Circles of Support and Accountability are an innovative and successful community contribution to reducing sex offending, working in close partnership with criminal justice agencies.

Pathways Covered

Attitudes, thinking and behaviour

Overview

For some men and women who have sexually offended, trying to re-settle into the community, particularly following a period of imprisonment, may be a daunting prospect. They may feel isolated and fearful, and in need of practical support; for example in finding work or managing their money. They may also struggle to rebuild a full and meaningful life whilst managing their ongoing and potentially risky behaviour.

Circles work in partnership with Police, Probation, local Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements and other professionals working in the field of child protection. Circles has at its heart the aim to prevent further sexual abuse, working with the objective of no more victims.

Circles do this by;

Helping a Core Member to reintegrate responsibly into the community.

Acting as a support and safety mechanism for both Core Member and the community.

Enhancing public safety when there is a perceived element of risk

What we do

What is a circle?

A 'Circle' comprises 4 or 5 community volunteers who are trained, supported and supervised by professionals. 

It aims to provide a supportive social network that also requires the Core Member to take responsibility (be ‘accountable’) for his/her ongoing risk management. The Circle can also provide support and practical guidance in such things as developing their social skills, finding suitable accommodation or helping the Core Member to find appropriate hobbies and interests. 

Volunteers are fully informed of the Core Member's past pattern of offending, and whilst helping them to settle into the community the Volunteers also to assist them to recognise patterns of thought and behaviour that could lead to their re-offending. Within it, the Core Member can grow in self-esteem and develop healthy adult relationships, maximising his or her chances of successfully re-integrating into the community in a safe and fulfilling way. 

The Core Member is involved from the beginning, is included in all decision making and, like all other members of the Circle, signs a contract committing him or herself to the Circle and its aims. Each Circle is unique, because it is individually designed around the needs of the Core Member.  
 

How often does a Circle meet? 

A Circle meets regularly and Volunteers also spend individual time with the Core Member, either face to face or by phone.  During the early weeks the Circle meets weekly, and Volunteers usually have at least one further contact during the week, either by phone or face to face. 

Its ‘life’ is initially for twelve months, but may extend beyond this for as long as there is a perceived need to support them and manage the risk they represent. Active involvement of Circles involvement should diminish over time as the Core Member develops other appropriate and safe support networks. 

Where we do it

Circles operates across the UK and has a base in thre South West. Access to a 'circle' will depend on availability of volunteers within your area.

How to access

An offender ('Core Member') is referred by their Probation or Police Offender Manager ands/he also volunteers to join the Circle.

Referral Criteria

Core members will:

  • be identified as a MAPPA Category 1 case (Registered Sex Offender);
  • be assessed as posing a high risk of serious harm and/or reconviction as defined by OASys and/or Risk Matrix 2000;
  • be identified as having specific needs around one or more of the following: social and emotional isolation, constructive and appropriate use of time, establishing appropriate adult relationships, accommodation, employment, mental health issues;
  • be living in the community (including Approved Premises) or due to be released into the community within 3 months of the Circle being established;
  • (preferably) have completed, or be engaged, in a relevant treatment programme or work to address their offending; acknowledge that s/he has committed a sexual offence(s);
  • be committed to ensuring that s/he creates no more victims;
  • agree to be part of a Circle and be willing to sign the Circles Agreement

Contact Us

Email: info@circlessw.org.uk

Telephone: 07717 442413

Visit: http://www.circles-uk.org.uk/local-projects/local-projects-2/south-west-england

 

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