The first CoSA was implemented in Hamilton, Ontario in 1994. This movement was started by Mennonite Pastor Harry Nigh, who befriended a mentally disabled sex offender who had served time in prison for sexual offices throughout his lifetime. Another chronic sex offender was released in Toronto a few months later to great public outrage, and Circles were formed to shelter each of these men, and to prevent them from causing any further harm.
Based on the success of the pilot Circles, which kept the two released former offenders from committing further sexual offences, this Made-In-Canada circle rehabilitation and support model has spread to cities in countries around the world — the United Kingdom, Europe, Brazil and Korea to name a few. The success of the CoSA model is based largely on the support and commitment of a group of well-trained volunteers, and the full support that they receive from the communities where the Circles operate.
Edmonton is one of 19 cities that operate roughly 200 Circles across Canada. The Circles have an aim to prevent further victimization through accountability and to assist former offenders in their quest to become productive and steadfast members of society.
CoSA is a “Made-In-Canada” grass roots solution to crime prevention which is now a best practice model offered in countries around the world.