Robin J. Wilson, Franca Cortoni, and Andrew J. McWhinnie, co-authored “Circles of Support & Accountability: A Canadian National Replication of Outcome Findings,” published in December 2009 issue of Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment.
Circles of Support & Accountability (CoSA) is a pilot project funded by the Canadian federal government to prevent high-risk sexual offenders from offending again, while helping them reintegrate into society.
Each Circle is composed of a Core Member (the former sexual offender) and four to six trained community volunteers, who meet with the core member at least once a week. The Circles are structured around openness and accountability, although the confidentiality of the circle will be breached if volunteers fear that a core member may be about to harm someone. Wilson, Cortoni, and McWhinnie found that participation in the COSA pilot project reduced recidivism by 70% or more in comparison with controls and actuarial norms.
The authors discussed the process of conducting the study, its finding, and implications for the future in an interview with Sexual Abuse editor James Cantor. Click here to listen to the podcast in its entirety.