Volunteers are needed to work on a scheme to reduce sexual offending

Cambridgeshire Police

Cambridgeshire Police - Credit: Archant

VOLUNTEERS are needed to work on the first scheme in Cambridgeshire to radically reduce re-offending among sex criminals.

The scheme has been running across England and Wales since 2002 and has supported 160 offenders none of whom have committed a contact sexual offence while working within the group.

Now, the county’s first scheme looks set to be launched in Peterborough.

The Circles of Support and Accountability group trains a small group of volunteers to meet regularly with convicted sex offenders to provide support and share risk information with the authorities.

All volunteers must pass an assessment test, are provided with training and managed by Circles East.

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Cambridgeshire MAPPA, Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements, includes representatives from police, probation, the prison service, local authorities and health, will be launching the scheme.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hopkins, MAPPA Chair, said: “Introducing the Circles scheme is about strengthening our ability to re integrate sex offenders safely into the community.

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“This is not about reducing the work of MAPPA but adding another asset to our management of offenders.

“A key factor in re-offending is social isolation and loneliness and it’s therefore important that we manage the needs of offenders in enabling them to safely re integrate into the community.

“This, of course, must take into account the needs of victims and the community and is overseen by professionals and volunteers.”

Circles East of England co-ordinator Annabel Francis said: “Circles of Support and Accountability is a brave community response to the very serious problem of sexual abuse in our communities.

“Our volunteers make a real difference in offenders’ lives and in doing so, prevent women and children from becoming victims.”

To volunteer or for more information contact Annabel Francis on 07974 117040 or email annabel.francis@hertfordshire.probation.gsi.gov.uk

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