Become a Circle Volunteer
Are CoSA volunteers at risk?
- Volunteers always work in groups.
- Volunteers are provided excellent training.
- There are one or more experienced volunteers on every Circle.
- The Program Coordinator sits in on the first three meetings and then as needed. In 17 years of programming, there has never been a risk to any of our volunteers.
- The Circles meet indoors in a safe location (i.e. office building, church). Meetings are never held at volunteers’ homes, and the Core Member is never given personal information about the volunteers (i.e. address, family, job, etc.). The group has guidelines and boundaries that prohibit sharing of this information.
You can make a difference. We need teams of volunteers willing to work with reintegrating citizens as they transition from prison back into our community. This program has a proven track record in lowering recidivism (reoffending); thus, making the community safer and helping those released become productive members of society.
Why volunteer with CoSA?
- CoSA Circle volunteers choose to actively participate in protecting the communities they live in. They choose to support and hold accountable someone who has been previously convicted of a sexual offence.
- CoSA volunteers help reduce a person’s likelihood of reoffending, thereby facilitating public safety. Statistically, high-risk sex offenders who participated in CoSA sexually reoffend 80% less than those without a CoSA Circle.
- Circles of Support and Accountability (Circles) build safer communities through local volunteers working with returning citizens to minimise alienation, support reintegration and so prevent sexual reoffending.
- As a CoSA volunteer, you learn a great deal and build strong relationships. Volunteers grow individually and as a group while challenging the Core Member to become the best version of himself/herself.
What does a CoSA Circle Volunteer do?
The returning citizen (referred to as the Core Member or CM) is “surrounded” by up to four community volunteers in a Circle that meets weekly (and between meetings by phone).
The volunteers offer relational and practical support. They focus on accountability to keep the community safe by emphasizing compliance with supervision, addressing risk factors, targeting criminal thinking patterns, challenging assumptions and helping the CM to form pro-social attitudes.
Do volunteers need to have expertise in any area?
You do not have to be an expert, a psychologist or a social worker. Our volunteers come from all walks of life: firefighters, lawyers, construction workers, daycare workers, engineers, sales personnel, teachers, homemakers, nurses, retired individuals, etc. You just need to have a sense of what is needed to become a pro-social citizen: what is right, acceptable, healthy and just, and a desire to help your community.
What are the requirements for becoming a CoSA Volunteer?
- Application (*must be minimum 27 years old)
- Criminal background check
- Basic Training 3-4 hrs
- Advanced Circle Training (2 Saturdays annually – spring and fall 4 hrs. each)
- Attend weekly Circle meetings
- Agreement to participate in a CoSA Circle for a minimum of 1 year.
Society cannot afford any more victims of sexual harm.
What is expected of a Circle Volunteer, and what are the Volunteers’ responsibilities?
- Committing to volunteer for a minimum of 1 year.
- Participating in an initial basic training session (3-4 hrs.), and additional 4 hour advanced training sessions scheduled twice a year (March and September).
- Attending weekly meetings with the other Circle members (1 ¼ hrs.).
- Supporting the CM and assisting the CM in making good decisions through mentorship and Circle discussions.
What does volunteer training include?
- To see an outline of Basic Training click here.
Advanced Training gives the volunteers additional tools and covers topics in-depth such as: sexual deviancy, relapse prevention, healthy boundaries, thought and behaviour patterns, crisis management, group functioning and support, and the restorative justice process.
What happens in a typical Circle meeting?
- CoSA Volunteer
- CoSA Volunteer
Circles of Support and Accountability is rooted in restorative justice. This is the belief that crime harms the whole community, and together, the community must mend the tears.
“It gives you an opportunity to be a part of the solution and the change you want to see.”
- (CSC, 2003: p. 11).
You do not need any special qualifications.
Be prepared to give, receive, and to grow.
You will be part of a team and supported.
Know that you are changing many lives…
To find out what qualities are needed to be a good CoSA Volunteer, click here
I’d like to look into becoming a Circle Volunteer
Please connect with us! To learn more, or to fill in the Circle Volunteer application form