WHAT IS A “CIRCLE OF SUPPORT AND ACCOUNTABILITY?”
“Circling” is symbolic of closeness, caring, coming together.
In a circle of support and accountability, three to four community volunteers come together in friendship around an individual convicted of a sex offense, the “core member” of the circle, who needs and wants help to rejoin a community and avoid victimizing others. Through frequent meetings with the core member, the volunteers are able to address some practical and social needs. At the same time, volunteers provide feedback and support regarding any attitude or behavior which could lead to re-offending.
WHY ARE CIRCLES NEEDED?
Not every sex offender needs a circle of support and accountability. Some may be at very low risk to re-offend and have adequate family or other support. Others, however, may leave prison facing homelessness, lack of a job and suspicion by the public. Housing and employment providers may refuse to even consider an application. Their already low self-esteem is reinforced by public rejection and laws which tend to isolate them.
A circle of support and accountability accepts the sex offender as a person of worth and potential and holds him accountable to live up to that.