Based in Central London, Respond has been working with children and adults with learning disabilities who have experienced abuse or trauma, as well as those who have abused others, through psychotherapy, advocacy, campaigning and other support for over 20 years. In 2012 we were awarded funding from both Esmee Fairbairn and Lankelly Chase to develop Circles for young people with learning disabilities who exhibit sexually harmful behaviour.
Through our work with young people with learning disabilities with sexually harmful behaviour we recognised that this was a group of people who were particularly vulnerable to sexually harmful behaviour often because of social isolation.
We are working in partnership with Circles UK developing this new project and we are committed to establish a service that fully meets the needs of young people with learning disabilities. We recognise that, though much of the work is similar to that of the adult circles there are differences to working with young people including contact with families and carers and professionals which is why we have employed a researcher to evaluate its development and effectiveness during the pilot stages.
Do you know a young person who you think may benefit from a Circle?
We have now reached a stage in the project where we are taking referrals for Circles and so if you think you know a young person with sexually harmful behaviour who you believe would benefit from a Circle of Support and Accountability please contact the COSA & Volunteer Coordinator Lorenzo Picco on 0207 874 5485 or email London Respond.
Are you interested in volunteering?
As a Circle of Support and Accountability volunteer at Respond, you, along with 4-6 other volunteers, will offer support to a young person with sexually harmful behaviour who has special needs. Working together, you will develop a supportive relationship with the core member, enabling them to make the most of their potential to live an independent life in the community which does not put others or themselves at risk.
You must be over 21 and be prepared to make a commitment to the project for 12-18 months. In the first instance, volunteers would need to commit to 4-6 hours a week although this is likely to reduce over time. As the majority of our clients are male we would especially welcome male volunteers.
Good communication skills and a high capacity for empathy are essential. You will also be able to manage your own emotions and maintain firm boundaries. A positive approach to team work and collaborative working is essential.
What Support will you get?
Full training will be provided, along with regular, ongoing support and supervision from the project co-ordinators.
For more info call Lorenzo Picco (CoSA & Volunteer Coordinator) 0207 874 5485 or email London Respond.