WHAT IS CIRCLES OF SUPPORT AND ACCOUNTABILITY?
Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) is a reintegration initiative, operating on restorative justice principles, that 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, so are not mandated by the judicial system. CoSA-Ottawa is one of currently 15 Canadian sites operating a CoSA program, representing approximately 150 to 200 circles and 700 volunteers.
The Core Member and three to five trained and screened community volunteers comprise a 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, Economist, Retired Public Servant Vice President: (TBD)
Treasurer: Sharon Rouleau, Finance Assistant, Shepherds of Good Hope, and former Circle Volunteer Secretary:
Directors:Alice Doell, Retired Pharmacist and current Circle Volunteer Kerry Lamming, Retired High School Principal and current Circle Volunteer Tara McWhinney, PhD Candidate, Social Sciences Sarah Starkie, Defense Lawyer Nicole St. John, Sergeant, Investigations, Ottawa Police Service Cliff Yumansky, Retired Federal Public Service Board of Directors 2016
L-R: Sharon Rouleau, Bob Cormier, Alice Doell, Emmy Verdun, Kerry Lamming, Nicole St. John
Missing: Sarah Starkie, Sherif Nour, Jason Tree
(Updated May, 2017)