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Guardian Charity Awards 2013 winner: Yorkshire and Humberside Circles of Support and Accountability

Dec 06, 2013

from the article from the Guardian:

YHCOSA works to rehabilitate and reintegrate socially isolated sexual offenders, with the aim of making sure they don't reoffend. Trained volunteers form "circles" of four to six members who meet with a "core member" once a week for around a year, discussing their offences, concerns and ideas for the future.

The charity, whose slogan is "no more victims", was praised by the judges for its "phenomenal success" and innovation in one of the most unpopular areas of social welfare – all undertaken on a shoestring budget. With just two part-time members of staff, working in partnership with co-ordinators from probation, it has trained more than 140 volunteers and formed 34 circles in just three years. Only two core members out of 34 have committed further offences, neither of which was a contact offence.

"This is a community response to offending," says YHCOSA's director, Tammy Banks. Helping build the core member's confidence to spend time in public spaces is key. "The more they are isolated the more they're going to feel under pressure and stay away from society, and for quite a lot that's a trigger to offending," Banks explains.

The charity is part of a global movement including 11 projects in England and Wales delivering 75 circles of suport. It is "absolutely over the moon" about the award. "Because what we do is often not viewed in the most positive light, I really have to spend time explaining that the aim is to reduce victims, and work with people who want to change. Having this recognition will help people understand that we're doing something very, very positive for society."

Read the full article.

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