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London - Respond

London Respond logoRespond, a London based charity, aims to lessen the effects of trauma and abuse on children and adults with learning disabilities and/or autism, their families and supporters as well as professional networks by providing emotional support, psychotherapy, advocacy, training and research. Respond has pioneered work with people with learning disabilities including ending forced marriage, establishing independent sexual violence advisors and therapeutically-informed community based work with those who display sexually harmful behaviour or who have offended sexually.

Established in 2013, and building on Respond’s 25 years experience of working therapeutically with victims of trauma, both those who have been abused and those who abuse, its COSA initiative supports young people and adults with learning disabilities who have sexually offended or who display harmful sexual behaviour to live a safe and purposeful life without risk to others.

A COSA is a group of 5 specially trained volunteers who work with the core member (the person with the harmful sexual behaviour) for a period of up to 18 months. They meet every week and the COSA supports the core members to grow, learn and change their behaviour. The COSA works under the careful supervision of the COSA Coordinators who in turn receive regular clinical supervision.

Working in close partnership with statutory agencies and care providers, Respond has been delivering this innovative approach to overcoming harmful sexual behaviour with impressive results for over 4 years now.

Respond’s model offers value for money and demonstrable positive outcomes as compared with incarceration in prison or hospital. Respond measures the outcomes of its Circles model using psychometric and other tests to evaluate the potential improvements to the emotional and social status of the core member. Areas in which there have been provable improvements are:

  • Personal responsibility
  • Communication skills
  • Socialisation
  • Confidence and self-esteem
  • Sexual Knowledge
  • Independence

All these factors work together to support the core members as they strive to maintain an offence-free lifestyle and greater social integration.

How to make a referral

Respond works with a range of referring agencies including schools, learning disability and probation services, health & social care, with families and with mental health and forensic services. If you would like to make a referral, please contact the COSA Coordinator on 0207 874 5485 or email London Respond.

Are you interested in volunteering with Respond?

We need volunteers from all walks of life to join this innovative and rewarding project. As a COSA volunteer at Respond, you, along with four others, will offer support to a young person or adult with sexually harmful behaviour who has special needs. Working together as a team, you will develop a supportive relationship with the Core Members, 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 prepared to make a commitment for about 18 months. Volunteers would need to commit to 2 hours a week (one weekday evening).

We are looking for empathetic individuals with good communication skills. A positive approach to team work is also essential. We particularly encourage male individuals to apply as most of our Core Members are male.

What Support will you get?

Full training will be provided, along with regular, ongoing support and supervision from the COSAs co-ordinators.

For more information call Lorenzo Picco (CoSA & Volunteer Coordinator) 0207 874 5485 or email London Respond.

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Contact Us

Abbey House/Abbey Square
Reading RG1 3BE
United Kingdom
0118 950 0068


Confidentiality Statement

Circles UK, as the national body for Circles Providers across England and Wales, can provide information on the availability of Circles across England and Wales and how to volunteer for our work. Circles UK itself does not provide advice or counselling. In a situation when anyone contacting us provides identifying information and raises our concerns that a child is at risk, or a criminal offence has been committed of which the police may be unaware, we will pass that information onto the appropriate agencies.