Fresno Pacific University
Rainbow below Vernal Fall in Yosemite
  Center for Peacemaking and Conflict Studies

Circles of Support and Accountability

Our mission is to substantially reduce the risk of future sexual victimization of community members by assisting and supporting released sexual offenders in their task of integrating with the community and leading responsible, productive, and accountable lives.

Read the Christianity Today article where Clare Ann is interviewed and COSA is described.
COSA featured in Christianity Today

See the PBS program on COSA
Ad for PBS program on COSA

Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA) is a prisoner reentry program that works with high risk sex offenders. Each Circle involves 4-6 trained volunteers from the community forming a "Circle of Support and Accountability" around an ex-offender (Core Member). The primary aim of COSA is "no more victims." The Circle meets together regularly as the Core Member transitions into the community, providing practical, physical, emotional, and spiritual support for the Core Member along with holding him accountable for safe living.

COSA was originally developed in Ontario, Canada in 1994. Experience and research across Canada has shown that providing support for sex offenders while holding them accountable is very effective in creating safe communities and in assisting ex-offenders to lead productive lives. The 2007 study showed that COSA participants had 83% less sexual reoffending than the matched comparison group.

If you are interested in participating call the program director, Clare Ann Ruth-Heffelbower, at 559-453-3448. COSA is housed in the Center for Peacemaking and Conflict Studies of Fresno Pacific University. Dr. Ruth-Heffelbower is also available for public presentations on COSA.

Orientation and training dates are available on the Events page.

Our newsletters and other written materials are available on the publications page.

Links to resources of interest to COSA