Their mission is to keep communities safe by reducing the risk of future sexual offences. The goal is no more victims. They do this by recruiting people from the local community to provide support and accountability to those people who have thoughts about or have engaged in harmful sexual behaviour towards others.
99,609 sexual offences were reported last year, the highest since national records began in 2002, and there has been a 60% increase in reported child sexual abuse in the last 5 years. Emotion without action means nothing. They live in a society where sexual abuse provokes powerful emotional responses within communities. Anger, fear, hatred, grief, denial are all common reactions. It seems like almost every day, a story breaks in the media revealing years of abuse by high profile individuals which went unnoticed or unreported by the institutions they belonged to. Imagine the suffering which could have been prevented if someone had spoken out. The issue isn’t limited to a handful of celebrities or strangers and misfits. 90% of children are abused by someone they know. The risks are all around us and the safety of children and adults living in the communities is the responsibility of all of us.
Circles could not exist without community involvement. Geographically Yorkshire, Humberside and Lincolnshire covers more than 8500 square miles. At YHLCOSA they recognise that to be a true community response to sexual abuse it’s paramount that they stay connected to the communities they serve.
The core members tell us repeatedly that volunteers are the magic ingredient of Circles. The fact that people from the local community are prepared to put time aside to spend time with them is incredibly valuable giving them a sense of involvement, belonging and responsibility for their behaviour that many have never had before.
All the volunteers are community members and the Coordinators work hard to match volunteers to a Circle to ensure it is as reflective of the core members local community as possible. This ensures that the core member learns to engage with a variety of different people that they may meet in everyday life.
Where is Yorkshire and Humberside Circles of Support and Accountability (YHLCOSA)