New charity aims to reduce sexual abuse reoffending

A new charity has been established which aims to reduce the number of victims of sexual abuse.

A new charity has been established which aims to reduce the number of victims of sexual abuse. The Safer Living Foundation – created with the help of Nottingham Trent University researchers – will work with sexual offenders prior to their release from prison in a bid to support their rehabilitation and successfully reintegrate them into society.

Academics from the University's Sexual Offences, Crime and Misconduct Research Unit are working with organisations including HMP Whatton, Nottinghamshire Probation Trust, Nottinghamshire Police and the Co-operative Group to launch the multi-agency project.

The charity will involve establishing 'Circles of Support and Accountability' within HMP Whatton – support networks for prisoners due for release who are socially isolated, with few family or friends.

It is an opportunity for them to receive emotional and practical support from a team of volunteers. These volunteers will also encourage the offender to be 'accountable' for their on-going risk management by helping to monitor their behaviour. The approach aims to provide a unique and supportive social network, counteracting the isolation which can be a dangerous factor in leading to further sexual offences.

By supporting the rehabilitation of sexual offenders we are reducing the likelihood of them ever reoffending.

Dr Belinda Winder, Nottingham Trent University

These meetings, or 'circles' will begin six months before a prisoner's release date and continue for 18 months after they have been released.

Researchers from Nottingham Trent University have helped to drive the charity forward and will evaluate the success of the initiative.

The approach has been proven to work in the community – with significant reductions in reoffending meaning fewer victims of crime, along with significant savings for the Criminal Justice System and taxpayer – but this is first time it has been used within a prison.

"By supporting the rehabilitation of sexual offenders we are reducing the likelihood of them ever reoffending," said Dr Belinda Winder, Head of the Sexual Offences, Crime and Misconduct Research Unit at the University.

She added: "The Safer Living Foundation will focus on rehabilitation, treatment, education and care of those most likely to commit further offences – in a bid to prevent further victims of sexual abuse, protect the public and address the needs of communities.

I am pleased and proud that we have together developed such an innovative project.


Lynn Saunders, Governor of HMP Whatton

Lynn Saunders, the Governor of HMP Whatton, said: "This project has come to fruition as a result of some innovative partnership working between the prison, university, police and probation staff. The project will provide support to offenders leaving Whatton and ensure that they are provided the best possible support and to ensure that they are held accountable for their future behaviour.

"I am pleased and proud that we have together developed such an innovative project."

Nigel Hill, Nottinghamshire Probation Trust Director, said: "Nottinghamshire Probation Trust fully supports this initiative which will help offenders to reintegrate into society and in turn reduce their risk of committing further offences.  Protecting the public from harm is one of the key objectives for the Trust and the Safer Living Foundation will, I am sure, make a significant contribution."

The Safer Living Foundation received start-up support and advice from the University's centre for entrepreneurship and enterprise, The Hive.

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New charity aims to reduce sexual abuse reoffending

Published on 26 February 2014
  • Category: Business; Press office; Research; School of Social Sciences

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