Respond Website

How to make a referral

We work with a range of referring agencies including, schools, learning disability and probation services, health & social care and with mental health and forensic services.

If you would like to discuss a potential referral, discuss funding or receive a referral form, please contact the COSA Coordinator on 0207 874 5485 or by email;

Does it work?

Respond’s unique adapted model enables the core member to experience interpersonal learning and a sense of equal participation and agency. Companionship is offered, guidance is given and received, feelings and behaviour are explored, problems shared and solutions seen to work.

Our approach offers value for money and demonstrable positive outcomes as compared with incarceration in prison and hospital. Respond measures the outcomes of its Circles model using psychometric and other tests to evaluate the potential improvements in the emotional and social status of the core member. Areas in which there have been provable improvements are:

·        personal responsibility

·        socialisation


·        sexual knowledge


·        confidence and self-esteem


·        communication skills



All these factors work together to support the core member as they strive to maintain an offence-free lifestyle and greater social integration.

ESTABLISHED in 2013, Responds COSA service:

BUILDS on Responds’ 25 years of experience of working therapeutically with victims of trauma, both those who have been abused and those who abuse

Is INFORMED by attachment theory, best practice in learning disability and a systemic approach to care, support and accountability

Is DELIVERED by carefully selected and specially trained volunteers under the close supervision of the COSA Coordinator

Is TAILOR MADE to meet the needs of each core member. We have successfully delivered COSAs for people with mild, moderate and severe learning disabilities and with people with autism.  The age range of our Core Members has ranged from 13 – 40. Some have offended; others are at risk of so doing.  Many have mental health problems and/or come from complex family backgrounds.

Download a leaflet for the project

Volunteers Wanted!

Do you want to tackle prejudice and ignorance around issues of harmful sexual behaviour and learning disabilities and autism in our society? You can break the cycle of abuse and reduce the risk of sexual offences in your community by supporting an individual with a learning disability and/or autism who has displayed sexually harmful behaviour.

Building on the pioneering work of Circles UK, Respond offers Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA) for young people & adults with learning disabilities who have harmful sexual behaviour or have committed sexual offences.


A COSA is a group of 4-5 volunteers from the local community who meet regularly with the person with the sexually harmful behaviour (called a “Core Member”). The COSA provides a supportive social network and helps the Core Member to build a safe, positive and purposeful life which does not put himself or others at risk.


Can you spare one evening a week (meetings usually last for an hour) for the next 18 months ? Are you over 21, empathetic and with good communication skills? We need people from all walks of life. As most of the Core Members are male, we particularly welcome male volunteers.


Full training, support and supervision provided.

 Want to learn more about this innovative and rewarding project ? Contact Lorenzo at Respond on or call 0207 874 5485.

You can also see the role description.


 'Being a COSA volunteer at Respond was one the most rewarding and challenging experiences of my life. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in community safety and looking for a way to prevent sexual violence.' - Former Volunteer

What makes Circles work?

6 Key Values Underpin Circles Work:

Support We believe that with the necessary support people can make the changes necessary to end their sexual offending.

Responsibility - The Circles helps the core member to be accountable for their actions.

Inclusiveness -  Managing safety through inclusion rather than exclusion.

Community Involvement -  Recognising the importance of community involvement.

Growth & Learning - Recognising that with necessary support and challenge, people have the ability to grow, learn and change their behaviour.

Humanization & Respect - Rather than dehumanisation, we see the power and importance of seeing everyone as an individual, and treating them with respect. 

'I used to think sex offenders were all just monsters.  But then I started thinking that everyone has a story, their own background that got them where they are.  We treat our core member with respect, something that's never happened before in his life.  The importance this has made in his life I think is one of the main reasons he hasn't offended again.'   Respond Volunteer