Over 35 invited guests attended the launch of the ‘Friends of Circles UK’ at the House of Lords on 2nd May 2013. Lord Ian Blair, a former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police hosted the reception and welcomed guests, describing his admiration for the volunteer-based service and the impact it is having in addressing the ever current concerns around the sexual abuse of the most vulnerable. Esther Rantzen, the founder of ChildLine, who has supported Circles UK for some time and indeed presented Circles UK with its Charity Award in 2011, referred to the importance of ensuring that those who are likely to commit such serious offences are carefully monitored and supported in their efforts not to reoffend. Esther warmly endorsed the ‘Friends of Circles UK’ and had time to catch up with her former colleague Simon Fanshawe from the BBC’s 1970’s consumer programme, That’s Life, who was also providing his support to the launch.
Dame Helena Kennedy QC, Dame Helen Reeves, former Chief Executive of Victim Support and Lord Blair of Boughton at the launch
But who are our ‘Friends’?
Stephen Hanvey, Chief Executive of Circles UK explained that there is growing appreciation of the role Circles of Support and Accountability (Circles) play in contributing directly to the reduction of sexual reoffending. However it is also Circles UK’s purpose to affect the quality of the debate in society and to ensure ‘more light than heat’ in discussions as to better managing those returning to our communities deemed most at risk of reoffending. The ‘Friends’ scheme is therefore for those who appreciate the work of Circles UK in developing the Circles service nationally, and who wish to see a much wider geographical provision than is possible with current resources. Through Friends speaking in their social and professional networks many more people will be helped to see the safeguarding and child protection objectives of Circles, which lie behind the work with those who are most at risk of committing such dreadful harm. By committing to regular financial support Friends will also know they are making possible the planned development of yet more services, both in parts of the country not yet served, and also for specific sub-sets of ex-offenders such as teenagers who commit up to 30% of all sexual abuse, or the elderly leaving prison in their 70s or 80s with no family or friendship networks, and therefore dangerously isolated.
Lord Blair of Boughton, Simon Fanshawe and Esther Rantzen
Keeping in touch with our ‘Friends’
Joining the ‘Friends of Circles UK’ by committing to a regular financial donation to the charity entitles you to email updates on our work, services and progress; a copy of the annual review with case studies and statistics around our work, and invitations to ‘Friends’ events, lectures and discussions.
Do become a Friend of Circles UK; by doing so you will directly be contributing to protecting the most vulnerable in our communities, and towards a more thoughtful and caring approach to society’s intractable challenge of how to reintegrate more safely those returning from prison to our streets with histories of such abuse.
Thank you for your interest in our much needed work of better managing those who present the highest risk of inflicting the worst kind of abuse. Please do not hesitate to come back to us with any questions or indeed suggestions. We do intend to listen to our ‘Friends’!
To become a Friend of Circles UK click here to download a regular giving form