Circles of Support & Accountability
COSA is a unique and innovative community justice initiative for postrelease support and monitoring of medium- and high-risk sex offenders in and by the community.
Welcome to CirclesEurope!
To support CoSA projects throughout Europe and to provide a platform for exchange of knowledge and good practices in Europe and beyond, a European Association for providers of Circles of Support and Accountability and their supporters has been set up.
CirclesEurope Association is the result of Circles4EU, a project funded by the EU. The consortium of the Cirlces4EU project consisted of 20 organisations, ranging from Ministries of Justices and Probation Services to Universities, NGOs and Foundations. Together they represent 10 European countries.
CirclesEurope aims to encourage and to facilitate the development across Europe of Circles of Support and Accountability as a humane, just, effective and indispensable means of reducing sexual reoffending.
Community justice initiative
Circles Of Support & Accountability (COSA, or Circles) is a unique community justice initiative for support and monitoring of medium- and high-risk sex offenders in and by the community.
In COSA, a sex offender (the core member) after release is supported by three to six volunteers (the inner circle) from the local community. The inner circle assists the core member in his proces of resettling in the community by providing moral support and practical help, and by encouraging pro-social behavior. Volunteers are also trained to recognize behaviour that raises concerns.
If necessary, their circle coordinator wil alert members of the so called outer circle that consists of professionals, such as probation officer, therapist or police officer, who can take whatever steps necessary to prevent further offending.
Evaluations show that the recidivism rate of Circles participants is considerably less than when compared to those who have not received a circle.
European COSA projects
In 2002, COSA was first introduced in Europe, in the United Kingdom. Since then, COSA has been further implemented in the Netherlands, Belgium, Catalonia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Ireland and Italy.
Circles Europe Association
In 2018, the CirclesEurope Association was founded. The objective of the association is the support, development and promotion of Circles of Support and Accountability services across Europe according to the commonly agreed Circles model and with the intention of assisting similar developments elsewhere.