PACE is a community based agency that has been working with offenders, ex-offenders, prisoners and ex-prisoners for over forty years. PACE provides the following to different groups
- Accommodation Services
- Training Services
- Prevention services
CoSA is one of three preventions services provide by PACE for people with convictions for harmful sexual behaviour. CoSA holds the following principles:
Voluntary participation based on informed consent
Core members, volunteers and professionals participate in CoSA voluntarily. All participants have a clear understanding of the purpose of CoSA.
The key motto of “no secrets” in relation to information shared between Circle members is accepted and understood by all members and Core Members consent to share information.
Core Members are aware of the potential consequences of participation and of sharing information.
CoSA Steering Committee includes representation from services for people affected by sexual trauma and abuse together with members of An Garda Siochána and the Probation Services. Circles include people who have caused harm by harmful sexual behaviour, volunteers and relevant professionals (Probation Officers and Liaison Gardaí) working with them.
CoSA adopts a problem solving approach by offering a safe space for Core Members to talk about triggers and risks related to reoffending, supporting them to put in place a plan to address these with a view to preventing further offences. Information about potential risks of reoffending will be passed on to the relevant professionals. In the broader context the return of people who have been convicted of sexually harmful behaviour to communities is viewed as problematic, CoSA makes a significant contribution to addressing this issue.
All members of CoSA are equal. Concern for and commitment to Volunteers (and by extension the broader community), Core Members and professionals is demonstrated by respecting the dignity and inherent value of all involved in CoSA.
Accountability and support
At its core CoSA is a mechanism through which the harmful behaviour of the person who has committed a sexual offence is recognised and challenged in an appropriate way. Core Members voluntarily disclose information about their past offences and share information about their risk management plan.
In the context of Circles of Support and Accountability the principle of safety applies firstly to the external community ensuring that communities are safer places by holding Core Members to account for their behaviour and risk management plans. Secondly Volunteer safety is promoted through voluntary participation, consultation about any types of offences they would not like to volunteer with and strong policies and procedures. Core Members safety is supported through voluntary participation and the involvement of professional in the outer circle.