Tuesday, April 16, 2013

UK - Would you befriend a child abuser?

Original Article

NOTE: Article has a video, but it's not playing right now. If it ever starts working, then we will embed it below. See the link above for the video.


As part of This Morning's Crime Week, Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby have been discussing whether anyone would befriend a child abuser if they thought it could prevent them from re-offending?

Joining the presenters in the studio was Stephen Hanvey, who is the Chief Executive of Circles UK - a charity organisation which aims to rehabilitate child abusers and Chloe Stirk, who is a volunteer.

Speaking about the organisation, Stephen said: "It's a small group of very carefully selected, trained, supervised volunteers who will dedicate time to spend with somebody who has committed these offences."

"(They are) keeping an eye on them, monitoring what they do, work very closely with probation officers and police. But also to counteract that isolation and alienation they experience."

"And the evidence is that if you provide them with a level of attention and some social and practical support you can help keep them on the straight and narrow."

"It's about the community taking responsibility."

Stephen Hanvey, Chief Executive of Circles UK

Initiatives such as Circles UK first came to prominence in Canada in 1995, after a Quaker community befriended a known sex offender to help him rehabilitate.

Circles UK volunteer Chloe Stirk told Phillip and Holly her work was very rewarding, but she was aware of the dangers of working with a notoriously manipulative group of offenders.

"We go through a lot of training....and really the rule of thumb is just to always err on the side of caution," she said.

"So if I come out of a meeting thinking everything is great then I know that I need to pick myself up again."

"Once you're aware of that, you learn to be a bit more confident about spotting when you are being manipulated."

"You don't sign up to it to go in and be judgmental."

Chloe Stirk, Circles UK volunteer

Statistics suggested that in medium to high risk sex offenders around 30% have reoffended in the past five years.
- We assume that when they say "reoffended" it means a new sex crime, but that is only a guess since they didn't specify that or not, but, ex-sex offenders already have one of the lowest reoffense rates of any other ex-felon, yet they are not on an online shaming hit-list nor punished as much as those less likely to reoffend.

Stephen said that of the 160 offenders his organisation have worked with, only eight have reoffended,

He admited that while the concept of Circles UK may be controversial to many, people should recognise the importance of the work they are doing.

"There is no cure (for pedophilia), but what you can do is to help these people recognise the triggers and the dangers of falling back into dangerous and distorted thing," he said.
- And not all ex-sex offenders are pedophiles either.

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