Publications

Publication: Desistance from sexual offending: The role of Circles of Support and Accountability

QUT Centre for Justice Chief Investigator Associate Professor Kelly Richards has released a new book, Desistance from sexual offending: The role of Circles of Support and Accountability (Routledge). The book explores how Circles of Support and Accountability (groups of community volunteers) can support perpetrators of sexual violence to reduce sexual reoffending.

The release of a notorious sex offender from prison strikes fear into members of the public. Media coverage often provokes further panic, casting such offenders as irredeemable monsters and ticking time bombs, destined to continue preying on innocent children and women. In the West, governments have responded by enacting heavily punitive and exclusionary policies, such as public sex offender registers, indefinite detention, and lifetime correctional supervision.

Circles of Support and Accountability are a radically different approach involving trained volunteers who collectively resist this exclusionary impulse, and instead actively support those with sexual offence convictions to reintegrate into communities. Despite their seemingly counterintuitive nature, research shows that Circles of Support and Accountability reduce sexual reoffending far better than more popular draconian sex offender management policies.

Associate Professor Richards’ book examines how Circles of Support and Accountability work by proposing a new way of understanding this practice. Drawing on 65 in-depth interviews with Circles participants (including perpetrators and volunteers themselves), it offers a new explanation of the ability of Circles to promote desistance from sexual offending, and to turn those convicted of sexual offenders into law-abiding and productive members of the community.

Find out more here

Read more about Kelly’s research here

 

 

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