Watch our videos to discover what it's like volunteering in a Circle and what it can achieve.
We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to make a difference
Society cannot afford any more victims of sexual harm
Circles primarily help to prevent sexual abuse and reduce reoffending. It is only possible to prevent and reduce sexual abuse if we support people with sexually harmful behaviours to change.
We currently have far more people with convictions for sex offence in prison than ever before. The vast majority leave prison and return to communities where the stigma attached to their offending makes it difficult for them to do the most basic forms of community reintegration like finding a home, a job and friendship.
Without purpose, healthy relationships, and stable accommodation, people with harmful sexual behaviour can find themselves isolated, lacking in confidence, skills and support.
Research has shown that this is likely to increase the risk of harmful sexual behaviour.
Circles make a difference
Evidence indicates that Circles can be a key tool in reducing sexual abuse. Circles are delivered throughout the UK and we need enthusiastic adult volunteers of all ages and backgrounds.
Specialist Circles are also created for people with Intellectual Disability/Autism Spectrum Conditions and Young People that also need volunteers.
Can you be a part of this and do something amazing?
Who we are
Circles are provided by a network of Local Providers who are all independent organisations supported by an overarching organisation, Circles UK who supports the development and effective operation of Circles providers across England and Wales. See here to find out about providers close to you, or contact Circles UK for more information.
All people with sexually harmful behaviour eventually get released from prison (even lifers). We believe that working with them to adopt a way of living that addresses their sexually harmful behaviour, helps to prevent further victims and benefits our communities.
How do Circles work to make Communities Safer?
Sexual abuse provokes powerful responses for people and within communities. The successful rehabilitation and reintegration of people with sexually harmful behaviour is key to reducing reoffending. Social isolation and emotional loneliness are key factors in increasing the risk of reoffending.
Circles have proved to be an extremely effective way of reducing this risk through a small group of 4 or 5 trained volunteers giving their time freely to provide a structured community intervention for sexual harm causers.
Our volunteers are diverse people from all ages and backgrounds. What they do have in common is a wish to reduce the possibility of further sexual abuse and help the Core Member (as the person is known in the Circle) to manage his or her behaviour and, when necessary, where behaviour becomes problematic, ensure the right agencies (Police and / or Probation) have information to intervene and take necessary action.
But wouldn’t we be safer if we just left them alone?
While a desire to avoid or get rid of high risk ‘sex offenders’ is an understandable reaction, it is counterproductive as a long-term strategy as social isolation has proved to be a major trigger for reoffending. Our neighbourhoods are not safer places when we choose to reject or ignore people with sexually harmful behaviour. Circles serves as a supportive ‘community’ for someone with sexually harmful behaviour in the midst of fear, hostility and isolation. whilst also acting as a responsible ‘community’ so that safety is not compromised.
How do Circles work and what do they do?
Generally, Circle Volunteers meet with a Core Member weekly for 10-18 months as part of a group of 4-5 Volunteers who are trained, supported and supervised by the Circle Coordinator.
The experience of being in the Circle can help to keep the Core Member accountable for their behaviour while giving them confidence, skills and practical assistance for a more positive and less isolated future. It can help them to find a sense of value and belonging, challenging them when needed, so that they can then live safely within the community. Evidence collected over the years shows that Circles are a proven way to help people break the cycle of offending and prevent further victims of sexual abuse.
In summary, Volunteers:
- encourage the person to take responsibility for their behaviour. They assist the person to develop an awareness of their behaviour and personal triggers which may lead them to commit sexually harmful behaviour.
- provide practical support to develop confidence and life skills to help the person integrate into society for a more positive and less isolated future
- work with other professionals to ensure there is ongoing risk management and access to appropriate services.
Volunteering with people with sexually harmful behaviours can be challenging, it can be complex and emotive. Circles UK and Local Providers take their duty of care to all volunteers very seriously ensuring there are clear boundaries and processes as well as accessible support to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing.
What's in it for you?
There are currently over 600 active Circle Volunteers working all over the country, without whom, we cannot do the valuable work we do. Circles UK and Local Providers, including our Volunteers, work with dedication and commitment as we believe in what we do.
Volunteers access in-depth initial and comprehensive ongoing training; regular and ad hoc access to supervision and support, a supportive team, further development opportunities and payment for all expenses. This provides an opportunity to learn about a niche area of work that can make a real difference.
You will also have a DBS check.