WHAT IS CIRCLES OF SUPPORT AND ACCOUNTABILITY?

Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) is a community-based initiative operating on restorative justice principles.  CoSA assists individuals who have served a prison sentence for a sexual offence(s) in their effort to re-enter society. These individuals, who we refer to as Core Members, participate in the program voluntarily and are not mandated by the judicial system.  CoSA-Ottawa is one of currently 18 Canadian cities operating CoSA programs, representing approximately 150 to 200 circles and 500 volunteers.

The Core Member and three to five trained and screened community volunteers comprise the Circle.  They meet as a group and individually on a regular basis to:

  • Support the Core Member’s community integration by facilitating his practical needs (i.e. access to medical services, social assistance, seeking employment/affordable housing, etc.) and by providing a consistent network of emotional support;
  • Develop constructive and pro-social strategies and solutions to everyday problems and concerns;
  • Challenge the Core Member’s behaviours and attitudes that may be associated with his offending cycle.
  • Celebrate successes.

Board of Directors

Officers:

President
Emmy Verdun, Treasurer, the Church of St. John the Evangelist (Anglican)
Vice President 
Rick Keindel, Staff Sergeant, Ottawa Police Service
Treasurer
Sharon Rouleau, Finance Assistant, Shepherds of Good Hope, and former Circle Volunteer
Secretary
Nicole Bedard, Development Coordinator, Beechwood Cemetery Foundation
 
 

Directors:

Robert Cormier, Former Executive Director, National Crime Prevention Centre
Alice Doell, Retired Pharmacist and current Circle Volunteer
James Foord, President, Defence Council of Ottawa
Kerry Lamming, Retired High School Principal and current Circle Volunteer
 
(Updated June 30, 2014)
 

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