Volunteering with Sacro’s Circles of Support & Accountability Service in Fife & Forth Valley
Sacro’s Circles of Support & Accountability Service works by engaging with a high-risk sex offender in the community in order to both support him in a non-offending lifestyle and to hold him to account. A ‘circle’ of volunteers meet weekly with each ‘Core Member’ to encourage good behaviour, positive community integration and personal self-improvement through work or education.
Here is what a ‘Core Member’ and a CoSA volunteer ‘Circle Member’ had to say about the service:
The Core Member stated that he felt very isolated before he started in the group just over a year ago. Even now he only has the contact from the Circle and the various agencies working with him. He also stated that he feels the Circle is a great place to discuss things and get advice on lots of things in his life and that the Circle members had been able to help him work out what kind of activities he would be able to do safely after confirming with his Supervising Officer. The Core Member reiterated that he got a lot of advice from the Circle and that his motivation to stay offence free was to maintain a link with his mum.
The Volunteer explained that she had worked as a supervising Officer in Social Work prior to retirement and was looking for an opportunity to volunteer with an organisation that she felt she could bring her experience to. She specifically mentioned that she felt her knowledge of accountability and licence conditions would be valuable and that she first heard about CoSA when attending a talk given by a Sacro employee at a conference some years ago.
The volunteer was very positive about her experience volunteering with CoSA and stated that she never felt that she would rather not attend the Circle each week despite the dark nights and cold weather. She enjoys working with a familiar subject from her working days without having to constantly worry about completing reports and feels that it is a much more personal service for the Core Member. She did not have a difficulty with the transition from being a supervising officer to being a volunteer and really enjoys the different approach.
The volunteer felt that the main benefit of the service was the ethos of No More Victims. She also felt that helping the Core Member become a productive member of society by finding employment and building an offence free future would help both the community and the service user.
See here for further details of the Circles of Support and Accountability Service.