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London - Respond

London Respond logoRespond is a London based charity which has been running for more than 25 years and provides support for people with learning disabilities and/or autism who have experienced trauma and abuse, including those who have gone on to abuse others through the provision of psychotherapy, its Circles of Support & Accountability (COSA) programme, advocacy and other services.

The COSA programme is a bespoke service which meets the need for a non-clinical form of care which takes place alongside its therapeutic work and acknowledges that people with learning disabilities who exhibit harmful sexual behaviour often do so as a result of isolation, stigmatization and unsafe living conditions. Its adapted Circle model, based on therapeutic principles, offers a solution to supporting those with a history of sexual offending, or at risk of so doing, to live safely in the community.

Over the years, our programme has supported a range of clients with different levels of learning disabilities – from mild to severe – autism and mental health issues. Most of them had a history of neglect, trauma and abuse, and came from unstable family backgrounds. Some of our clients have been through the criminal justice system due to their offences while others were supported because of their risk of sexually harmful behaviour. This with the view to helping the young people to address their harmful behaviour before it escalates into more serious criminal offences.

Over the years, our programme has supported a range of clients with different levels of learning disabilities – from mild to severe – autism and mental health issues. Most of them had a history of neglect, trauma and abuse, and came from unstable family backgrounds. Some of our clients have been through the criminal justice system due to their offences while others were supported because of their risk of sexually harmful behaviour. This with the view to helping the young people to address their harmful behaviour before it escalates into more serious criminal offences.

The COSA enables the Core Member to experience structured, regular and consistent emotional and practical support as well as a sense of engagement and participation. A non-judgmental reflective space is created in which risky feelings and behaviours can be addressed, listening can take place and alternative strategies devised. The volunteers model positive social relationships, the Core Member feels valued and cared about as a member of the group which in turn increases their sense of sense of self efficacy as well as their social and communication skills. The COSA also provides a very practical forum for problem solving around building a life in the community; access to education, employment.

Over the 18-month time span, the “outer” and “inner" Circles become accustomed to working together to support the client and manage his/her risky behaviour. During the last 6 months of the COSA, the focus is on putting in place elements to facilitate greater social integration through education, work and leisure pursuits.

How to make a referral

Respond works with a range of referring agencies including schools, learning disability and probation services, health & social care, 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?

Respond’s COSA volunteers come from all walks of life as the composition of our COSAs reflect the diversity of the broader community in terms of age, race, background, gender and sexuality. 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 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 COSA co-ordinators.

For more information call Lorenzo Picco (CoSA & Volunteer Coordinator) 0207 874 5488 or email London Respond.

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Contact Us

 
Abbey House/Abbey Square
Reading RG1 3BE
United Kingdom
 
0118 950 0068
 
https://www.circles-uk.org.uk

 

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.