The history of Vancouver Fraser Valley CoSA
CoSA (Circles of Support and Accountability) is a volunteer-driven, community-based program that enhances community safety by providing support and holding accountable sex offenders returning to his/her communities after incarceration. Recently, we have also integrated public education into our mandate. We believe that the first level of intervention in reducing sexual offences is educating on sexual abuse prevention through webinars and providing resources to the community.
CoSA Vancouver Fraser Valley (CoSA VFV) has operated since 2003, initially in the Fraser Valley, expanding in 2010 to include Metro Vancouver, spanning over nine cities and regions. From 2002 through to 2010, CoSA VFV dealt exclusively with sex offenders who were released from Federal Corrections. In 2010, CoSA VFV expanded to include sex offenders released from Provincial Institutions.
Currently CoSA VFV operates approximately 25 Circles.
CoSA VFV is a volunteer organization operated by Catholic Justice Services Society, a registered Society. The Society is run by an elected executive drawn from its membership.
CoSA VFV has over 60 trained volunteers who provide leadership, mentoring, support and accountability to released sexual offenders (known as the Core Members or CMs), through weekly meetings, and assistance as required. We have a wide age range of volunteers, starting from late 20’s and including people from diverse ethno-cultural and faith/no-faith backgrounds.
Correctional Services Canada (CSC) was the initial funder of CoSA and supported it through contracts with Catholic Charities Justice Services and M2W2 from 2003 to 2015. CSC resumed support for CoSA VFV in the fall of 2020. CSC continues to be an integral part of CoSA VFV, working closely with our staff both inside and outside the federal correctional institutions. From its inception, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver has supported CoSA financially and with personnel.
CoSA VFV maintains a positive relationship with our community stakeholders and partners, working closely with multiple police forces, probation and parole offices, and other non-profit community organizations.
Beginning in 2009 Public Safety Canada, through the National Crime Prevention Centre, provided five years of funding for a national demonstration project in partnership with CoSA Canada. Public Safety Canada initiated new 5 year funding again in 2017 through CoSA Canada. When current federal funding runs its course in 2021, it will be necessary to find new sources of funding to support and expand our program and meet a vital community need. We solicit ideas and any kind of financial help.
CoSA VFV has taken a unique approach in contrast to other Canadian sites and expanded its mandate to include public education to ensure even safer communities via webinars. To learn more, click here for Public Education.
Over the past 17 years, CoSA VFV has worked with over 200 sex offenders as they completed his/her sentences and sought to return to the community in a safe and crime-free way. Our story is the story of reintegrating citizens and his/her volunteers. However, our story is also the story of “no more victims”.