Research

COSA has been developed as a practise based approach, out of a strong belief in ethical and practical principles and was less derived from theoretical insights into sex offender relapse prevention. The call for ‘evidence based practise’, however, is growing in social intervention policies and funding, which means that interventions more and more have to provide proof that money has been well spent and goals are being met.

Research into the implementation, outcome and possible effects of COSA is still limited. CirclesEurope aims to support the dissimination of research findings and wants to support (international) research into COSA.

Research by CirclesEurope

The latest research by CirclesEurope about COVID19 and the impact on CoSA
The impact of COVID  on CoSA

COSA efficacy (Research summary)

Provided below is a link to the Circles UK summary of some of the key research regarding the efficacy of Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA) both in England and Wales and internationally.

Research website circlesUK


COSA method and theory

COSA has been developed as a practice based approach, out of a strong belief in ethical and practical principles and was less derived from theoretical insights into sex offender relapse prevention. The call for ‘evidence based practice’, however, is growing in social intervention policies and funding, which means that interventions more and more have to provide proof that money has been well spent and goals are being met. A first step is to provide a rationale for the COSA method.

Articles and other publications explaining the method and providing a rationale for Circles: 

 

Fox, K. J. (2015). Theorizing community integration as desistance-promotion. Criminal justice and behavior, 42(1), 82-94.   download via researchgate

Hannem, S. (2013). Experiences in reconciling risk management and restorative justice: How Circles of Support and Accountability work restoratively in the risk society. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 57, 269-288.

Höing, M., Bogaerts, S., & Vogelvang, B. (2013). Circles of support and accountability: How and why they work for sex offenders. Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, 13(4), 267-295. download via Tilburg University

Hanvey, S. and Höing, M. (2012) ‘Circles of Support and Accountability, and community reintegration for those at risk of sexually reoffending’, EuroVista, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 55-60

Hanvey, S., Philpot, T & Wilson, C. (2011). A Community-Based Approach to the Reduction of Sexual
Reoffending: Circles of Support and Accountability. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. 192pp. ISBN: 9781849051989

 

Impact and effectiveness

While the evidence for the effectiveness of COSA is growing (e.g. Duwe, 2018), many outcome studies face methodological challenges. A detailed critique of studies and reports investigating the effectiveness of Circles on relevant outcomes is provided by Clarke et al.(2017).

 

2018

Bohmert, M. N., Duwe, G., & Hipple, N. K. (2018). Evaluating restorative justice circles of support and accountability: can social support overcome structural barriers?. International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology, 62(3), 739-758. google scholar

Duwe, G. (2018). Can circles of support and accountability (CoSA) significantly reduce sexual recidivism? Results from a randomized controlled trial in Minnesota. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 14(4), 463-484.

Dwerryhouse M. (2018) Evaluating Community-Based Circles of Support and Accountability. In: Elliott H., Hocken K., Lievesley R., Blagden N., Winder B., Banyard P. (eds) Sexual Crime and Circles of Support and Accountability. Sexual Crime. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

2017 

Clarke, M., Brown, S., & Völlm, B. (2017). Circles of Support and Accountability for sex offenders: A systematic review of outcomes. Sexual Abuse, 29(5), 446-478. google scholar

2015

Höing, M., Vogelvang, B., & Bogaerts, S. (2015). “I am a different man now”—Sex offenders in circles of support and accountability a prospective study. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 61(7), 751–772.  google scholar

2014

McCartan, K., Kemshall, H., Westwood, S., Solle, J., MacKenzie, G., Cattel, J. & Pollard, A. (2014) Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA): A Case File Review of Two Pilots. Ministry of Justice. 

Thomas, T., Thompson, D., & Karstedt, K. (2014), Assessing the impact of Circles of Support and Accountability on the reintegration of adults convicted of sexual offences in the community.  Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, School of Law, University of Leeds

2013

Bates, A., Williams, D., Wilson, C. and Wilson, J. (2013) Circles South East: The first 10 years 2002-2012, International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, published online 24th April 2013, DOI: 10.1177/0306624X13485362 

2012

Bates, A., Macrae, R., Williams, D. and Webb, C. (2012) ‘Ever-increasing circles: A descriptive study of Hampshire and Thames Valley Circles of Support and Accountability 2002-09’, Journal of Sexual Aggression, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 355-373.

older

Wilson RJ. Cortoni F. McWhinnie AJ. (2009) Circles of Support & Accountability: a Canadian national replication of outcome findings.Sexual Abuse: Journal of Research & Treatment. 21(4):412-30   google scholar

Wilson, R., Picheca, J. and Prinzo, M. (2007) ‘Evaluating the Effectiveness of Professionally-Facilitated Volunteerism in the Community-Based Management of High-Risk Sexual Offenders: Part One – Effects on Participants and Stakeholders’, The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, Vol. 46, No 3; pp. 289-302   google scholar

Wilson, R., Picheca, J. and Prinzo, M. (2007) ‘Evaluating the Effectiveness of Professionally-Facilitated Volunteerism in the Community-Based Management of High-Risk Sexual Offenders: Part Two – A Comparison of Recidivism Rates’, The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, Vol. 46, No.4; pp. 327-337 

 

Other research publications

In this document you will find other research publications that discuss wider aspects of CoSA:

Other research