Definitions & Standards

In recent years the COSA concept has gained more and more attention of professionals within forensic mental health care, probation organisations, other stakeholders and universities in different European countries.

Given the model is still relatively new, and has to be developed within the context of often hostile and ignorant public perceptions as to the realities of sexual offending and the potential for reintegration, this international expansion is remarkable and truly encouraging. It should be mentioned that this success is for a large part due to the fact that there was a strict compliance with the programme integrity in all countries where COSA has been implemented until now, thus ensuring the effectiveness of the model.  


Valuable experience in implementing COSA gained by organisations that have implemented COSA in Europe is made available in the project Circles4EU, by actively supporting and assisting organisations from all over Europe aspiring to implement COSA in their country. By drawing upon the existing knowledge on the implementation of COSA, the implementation of COSA in other countries can be done more efficiently, and costs can be saved. The chance of a successful implementation can be increased, the quality of the interventions can be improved. In addition, the disappointment that may result from an unsuccessful implementation can be avoided.

Crucial in this is safeguarding the integrity of COSA. Therefore, in the framework of Circles4EU, a set of shared fundamental principles of Circles was developed to which all members of the European Circles Network should subscribe.

Definitions and Standards document

The Definitions and Standards document was prepared by reaserchers Birgit Völlm and Sue Brown from the University of Nottingham. 
You can download the Definitions and Standards document by clicking here.

This document has been created through a process of consultation amongst members of the Circles4EU network. The consultation involved circulation of a discussion document followed by a subsequent teleconference discussion group. The findings were then presented during a workshop at a meeting of Circles4EU partners in October 2013, enabling a face to face discussion amongst partners. This document represents the outcome of this consultation process

The Definitions and Standards document was finalized in December 2013.