Circles of support and accountability: How and why they work for sex offenders

M. Höing, S. Bogaerts, B. Vogelvang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA) provide re-integrating sex offenders with a group of trained volunteers who support this rehabilitation process. Effect studies show promising results in reduction of recidivism. This study provides a theoretical underpinning and empirical validation of the COSA intervention model, based on a grounded theory analysis of 38 circle narratives, reflecting the experiences of 21 circles. Four circle functions appear to be essential, with inclusion being most important. Inclusion is serving basic human needs and is motivating the sex offender to allow monitoring and being held accountable. Program integrity and a positive group development are essential preconditions for circle effectiveness.
Keywords: sex offenders, COSA, intervention theory, relapse prevention, treatment effectiveness, recidivism

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-295
JournalThe Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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