Research and Evaluation

Research and Evaluation

The Safer Living Foundation believe in evaluating all projects from the outset, with a view that evidence-based practice and service user involvement are key to the planning and delivery of any new initiative. Nottingham Trent University provide ongoing evaluations for each project that the charity runs.

This area of the website will provide you with an overview of our evaluation ethos, and up to date findings will be published here when they become available.

What do our evaluations look like?

Our evaluations focus on two aspects: (1) The process and (2) The outcomes.

(1) The process: This involves examining all aspects of the service that is being delivered, looking at what works well and what could be improved. For example, we often conduct interviews with service users as they engage with a project, to find out what their experiences are and whether they would prefer anything to be different or improved. The outcomes from this can then be fed back into the service delivery to bring about positive changes to our projects.

(2) The outcomes: This involves examining whether the aims and objectives of each project are being achieved. For example, an aim of our Circles of Support and Accountability projects is that there will be a reduction in loneliness and isolation and an increase in mental wellbeing and so we measure these before and after a Circle finishes, to see whether these aims have been achieved.

Find a copy of our latest evaluation report here!

Download (PDF, 786KB)

The following two posters are from the Safer Living Foundations recent attendance and presentation at the Annual British Psychology Society Division of Forensic Psychology Conference held in Newcastle in June 2018. One is for the YPCoSA evaluation and the other on the Aurora project (prevention) evaluation.

BPS DFP Conference Posters 2018.

Download (PDF, 540KB)

Download (PDF, 382KB)

Prison-based CoSA PhD Research

Kitson-Boyce, R., Blagden, N., Winder, B., & Dillon, G. (2018). ‘This time it’s different’ preparing for release through CoSA (The prison model): A phenomenological and repertory grid analysis. Sexual Abuse: A journal of research and treatment. 10.1177/1079063218775969


Circles of support and accountability (CoSA) in the prison-model begin prior to the

core members’ release from prison and continue with them on release in to the

community. The purpose of this study was to explore the expectations of release of

those convicted of a sexual offense and how this develops during their participation

in the prison sessions of CoSA. The research question was to consider how the

prison-model of CoSA relates to the desistance of crime, in particular the phases of

desistance developed by Gobbels, Ward, and Willis. Data were collected using both

phenomenological interviews and repertory grids at two different time points; prior

to starting the circle in prison (n = 9) and just before release (n = 5). The findings

suggest the prison sessions provide a sense of support and “no longer being alone”

often absent in those who sexually offend. The additional prison sessions enabled

the participants to experience this during their approaching release date; a stressful

period that was characterized by anxiety. Further research is now required to explore

whether circles in the prison-model are able to encourage and reinforce the cognitive

change required for desistance, enabling the core members to successfully manage

their underlying anxieties surrounding societal stigmatization.

Kitson-Boyce, R., Blagden, N., Winder, B., & Dillon, G. (2018). A prison-model of CoSA: The potential to offer ‘through the gate’ support and accountability. Journal of Sexual Aggression. 1-17. 10.1080/13552600.2018.1509575


Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) are an intervention used to

support and enable those who have been convicted of a sexual offence

(core member), to reintegrate back into society, whilst still holding them

accountable for their behaviour (Cesaroni, 2002). The purpose of this

study was to introduce a new prison-model of CoSA and to explore the

core members’ perceptions of their release from prison, and subsequent

future in the community, prior to it starting. Interviews and repertory

grids were carried out with those who had accepted a core member

place on this initiative (n = 9). The findings derived from the data

highlight the core members’ concerns regarding their pending release

from prison, along with a potential turning point towards a more prosocial

self. A prison-based model of CoSA may provide support and

accountability during this transitional stage, thus helping to counter any

isolation experienced and capitalise on any cognitive change.

Prevention in the UK: How are we tackling sexual (re) offending? 9 April 2018 

Conference Presentations


Mixed Method Evaluation of 188 UK-Wide Community Circles of Support and Accountability (ESC, Cardiff, September 2017)


Desistance through Prison-Based Circles of Support and Accountability (ESC, Cardiff, September 2017)


Circles of Support and Accountability (The Whatton Conference, HMP Whatton June 2017)


A retrospective exploration of viable prevention
strategies - helping individuals to avoid committing
their first sexual offence against a child (IATSO, Copenhagen, September 2016)

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University of Nottingham Trent Study Day: Nottingham, December 2015

(1) The Safer Living Foundation Circles of Support and Accountability

(2) Community Reintegration and release from prison: Convicted sexual offenders


Transparent ATSA Logo R 10_0

Circles of Support and Accountability: The Prison Model (ATSA, Montreal, October 2015)


Prison-based Circles of Support and Accountability (International CoSA Conference, Barcelona, November 2014)


Prison-based Circles of Support and Accountability: A New Approach to Sex Offender Reintegration (NTU Criminology Conference, NTU, 2014)