Who are Circles for?

What is a Circle of Support and Accountability?

A ’Circle of Support and Accountability’ is a group of Volunteers from a local community  which forms a Circle around an offender. In Circles, the sex offender is referred to as the 'Core Member'. Each Circle consists of four to six Volunteers and a Core Member.

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?

The Circle meets regularly and, in the early stages, frequently (usually weekly). The volunteers might also have contact with the Core Member between meetings, normally by phone but occasionally 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.

Who is eligible for a Circle?

Each Circles Project has their own eligibility criteria but generally the service is for men or women who have acknowledged that that have committed sexually harmful behaviour and are assessed as at risk of engaging in further offending behaviour.

Offenders must be prepared to enter voluntarily into a contract with a Circle.  They must have some understanding of their offending behaviour and committed developing a positive, non-offending lifestyle.

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Latest News

Criminal Justice Alliance Award - Outstanding Organisation 2019Circles UK receives the Criminal Justice Alliance ‘Outstanding Organisation’ award for 2019’
Criminal Justice Alliance Award - Outstanding Journalism 2019Sky News correspondent and presenter Adele Robinson receives the Criminal Justice Alliance ‘Outstanding Journalism’ award for 2019, for the documentary made about Circles 'Inside the Circle' - still available to watch HERE
Circles UK Annual Review 2018-2019 Circles UK Annual Review 2018-2019

Contact Us

Abbey House/Abbey Square
Reading RG1 3BE
United Kingdom
0118 950 0068


Confidentiality Statement

Circles UK, as the national body for Circles Providers across England and Wales, can provide information on the availability of Circles across England and Wales and how to volunteer for our work. Circles UK itself does not provide advice or counselling. In a situation when anyone contacting us provides identifying information and raises our concerns that a child is at risk, or a criminal offence has been committed of which the police may be unaware, we will pass that information onto the appropriate agencies.

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