Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA)
Circles of Support and Accountability-Peterborough (CoSA Peterborough) is a nationally funded program that seeks to provide support to high-risk sex offenders upon reintegrating into Peterborough and the surrounding area. The offenders who join CoSA are called Core Members because they are at the core of each Circle, and they are the reason that the volunteers and the coordinator come to the table each week. Core Members join CoSA on a voluntary basis and are committed to living a productive, positive and offence free life. The mission statement for the organization is No More Victims, and No One is Disposable.
It is estimated that CoSA reduces the likelihood of sexual recidivism by approximately 70%, while some studies have suggested that this number could be as high as 83% (Wilson, Picheca & Prinzo, 2007; Wilson, Cortonti & McWhinnie, 2009). Not only can CoSA reduce further victimization within our community, CoSA also helps to mentor Core Members in areas of employment, housing, and the creating prosocial relationships.
In April of 2017, through hard work and a commitment to lessening the number of victims created by sexual offending, a team of invested people across the country worked with the Federal Government to create the CoSA National Capacity Project- a five year partnership between CoSA Canada and the Federal Government of Canada, Public Safety Division (See Toronto Star Article https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/05/07/ottawa-gives-748m-for-sex-offender-reintegration-program.html). The funding provided to CoSA Canada allows 14 CoSA sites to operate across the country- one of which is CoSA Peterborough- under its parent organization, Peterborough Reintegration Services.
CoSA Peterborough came into service in 1994, under the parent organization Peterborough Community Chaplaincy. Since its inception, CoSA Peterborough has had it’s ups-and-downs, including an interruption in funding in 2015, which nearly terminated the program (See Article published by CBC, http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/sex-crime-prevention-program-cut-by-ottawa-1.2979196). CoSA Peterborough persevered, and is now fully staffed and ramping up efforts to reduce recidivism in the Peterborough area.