We’re currently recruiting circle Volunteers!

We are looking for mature, enthusiastic individuals of all ages (min. 21 years old), from all backgrounds and of all lifestyles who are interested in volunteering to work with people who have been incarcerated for sexual offences and are in the process of reintegrating into the community.
Check out our one-hour INFORMATION SESSION to see if you’d like to join our team!
Geris Training cropped

Saturday, April 22nd  10:00-11:00 AM,  Parish Hall at St John’s Church (154 Somerset St @ Elgin St)
onday, April 24th, 5:30-6:30 PM, Community Meeting Room at Massine’s Independent Grocer (296 Bank St @ Somerset St.).

For more info about what it means to be a volunteer, check out the Volunteers page and the training page.
To register for the information session, send us an email at admin@cosa-ottawa.ca .




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


Emmy Verdun, Economist, Retired Public Servant
Vice President: 
Robert Cormier, Former Executive Director, National Crime Prevention Centre
Sharon Rouleau, Finance Assistant, Shepherds of Good Hope, and former Circle Volunteer
Sharon Rouleau


Alice Doell, Retired Pharmacist and current Circle Volunteer
Kerry Lamming, Retired High School Principal and current Circle Volunteer
Sarah Starkie, Defense Lawyer
Nicole St. John, Sergeant, Investigations, Ottawa Police Service
Jason Tree, Lawyer, Federal Public Service
Sherif Nour, Sales Representative, Thermo Fisher Scientific

 Photo: Board of Directors 2015

BoD2015_16 cropped
Back: Sarah Starkie, Nicole Bedard (retired from BoD), Kerry Lamming, Alice Doell, Wendy Stewart (retired from BoD), Sharon Rouleau
Front: Bob Cormier, Emmy Verdun
Missing: Nicole St. John, Sherif Nour, Jason Tree
(Updated July, 2016)

6 Responses to

  1. Daniel Gennaro says:

    This kind of service is needed in America. As a former Job Coach/Trainer Advocate and a family member to young adult that has been convicted of a sexual offender felony case, I see the drastic lack of support and assistance from the courts. Above all- the misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the court taking the side of the younger party over the other. To discuss the problems of our society is fruitless: i.e. how woman are much more promiscuous today than ever, and how a lack of supervision in their lives, whether on the internet or out in the public goes un-mentioned or taken into consideration when judging a case.

    To overcome such cruel unfairness and bias we need organizations such as yours to take a stand for this injustice, and also a wealth of volunteers to help aide those individuals like my family member who is trying to better their life, but sadly, after being ashamed and degredaded by peers who subjugate them to a “one size fits all” offender list- they do not see any hope for their future, in terms of finding a job and making something out of themselves. They feel destitute, no matter what age they may be. While they are on the inside, ordinary, good, helpful, kind and considerate people who have been misunderstood from a young age, and helplessly probably misunderstood/misunderstand themselves.

    Can I be connected to some of your sites resources and learn how to perhaps seek the same sort of services in the u.s.a.?

    Thank you and God Bless the Church for doing his will, I wish and pray now that similar organizations rise up to the challenge in America.

    Dan from Pennsylvania.

    • slove says:

      Hi Dan,
      My sincere apologies for the delay in responding – I just noticed your message now sadly. I can send you list of CoSA sites in the US if you are still interested. If so, please contact me by e-mail at slove@cosa-ottawa.ca. Susan

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hello my name is doug Carley. I live in Australia. I am very interested in your program. I came across the Costa program while writing a paper on the aetiology of child sexual abuse in nsw Australia.i will be travelling to Toronto Canada on the 7th sept. This year. The purpose of this visit is to study your program. Upon my return to Australia I will write a comprehensive paper on your cosa program.
    Hoping we can stay in touch.

    • slove says:

      My apologies for the delay in responding Doug. That’s great that you are coming to Canada. We would love to host you, if you are able to come to Ottawa. Regardless, I can put you in touch with my colleagues in Toronto. Perhaps send me an e-mail slove@cosa-ottawa.ca. Looking forward to hearing from you! Susan

  3. James Black says:

    WHAT ABOUT THEIR VICTIMS. ??? 7 of Ralph Rowes victims committed suicide.

    • slove says:

      You are correct James, the harm caused by sexual assault impacts greatly on the lives of victims and their families, sometimes with tragic results. Although CoSA does not work directly with victims, CoSA has been proven to reduce rates of reoffending and therefore prevent further victimization. This is why CoSA has two mottos: No More Victims and No One is Disposable.

      There are other essential programs, like Ottawa Victims Services http://ovs-svo.com/site/ and Men And Healing http://menandhealing.ca/, that are dedicated to providing support to victims of sexual assault.

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