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CoSA Volunteer Information

CoSA Volunteers

Mature, committed and responsible individuals are welcome to participate in CoSA Nova Scotia’s Training Program. You do not have to be an expert, a psychologist or a social worker. Our volunteers come from all walks of life: firefighters, lawyers, construction workers, daycare workers, engineers, sales personnel, teachers, homemakers, nurses, retired individuals, etc. You just need to have a sense of what is needed to become a pro-social citizen: what is right, acceptable, healthy and just, and a desire to help your community.


Prospective volunteers must:

  • Be a minimum age of 21;

  • Participate in and complete the Volunteer Training;

  • Complete a screening process including: a volunteer interview, provide two character references, and a police background check (cost covered by CoSA), and

  • Make a commitment to be involved for one year.


What To Expect

    • Attend 1 circle meeting and 1 one-on-one meeting each week

    • Attend CoSA social events and Discussion Series, when available

    • Keep track of the volunteer hours involved with your Core Member, and submit monthly reports on activities, goals/progress, etc.


Please note: Attending the training does not obligate the participant to become a CoSA volunteer.

Role of a CoSA Volunteer

To support and hold accountable the Core Member.



  • Facilitate caring, open, and honest dialogue

  • Practical support and essential needs (housing, employment, social assistance, community resources)

  • Social and life skills (healthy relationships, money management, personal and domestic hygiene, recreational activities)

  • Emotional support

  • Focus on strengths and stay positive (CM’s skills, talents, interests)

  • Aid core members in developing longer-term support networks outside the circle



  • Challenge negative or unhelpful attitudes, behaviours, and thoughts

  • Help Core Member follow his Self Management Plan – identifying his risk factors, warning signs and coping strategies

  • Encourage core members to identify and make healthy choices

  • Act, at all times, as a mentor/role model to the Core Member

  • Be aware of warning signs

Additional Resources

For a categorized list of podcasts, documentaries, articles, etc., click here

Parole Decision-Making: Myths and Realities

Canadian research and publications:

  1. Chouinard, J. A. & C. Roddick (2014). An Evaluation of the Circles of Support and Accountability Demonstration Project, Church Council on Justice and Corrections.

  2. Wilson, R. J., F. Cortoni, & A.J. McWhinnie “Circles of Support & Accountability: A Canadian national replication of outcome findings”, (2009). Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research & Treatment, 21, 412-430.

  3. Wilson, R. J., J.E. Picheca, & M. Prinzo (2005). Circles of Support & Accountability: An evaluation of the pilot project in South-Central Ontario, [Research Report R-168] Ottawa, ON: Correctional Service of Canada.

  4. McWhinnie, A.J., & Wilson, R.J. (2005). Courageous Communities: Circles of Support and Accountability with Individuals Who Have Committed Sexual Offences. Restorative Practices E-Forum, 1-3.

  5. Wilson, R. J., L. Stewart, T. Stirpe, M. Barrett, & J.E. Cripps (2000).“Community-based sex offender management: Combining parole supervision and treatment to reduce recidivism”, Canadian Journal of Criminology, 42, 177-188.


International research and publications:

  1. R.J. Wilson, R. J., & A.J. McWhinnie (2010). “Circles of Support & Accountability: An innovative approach to community-based risk management for high-risk sexual offenders”, in M. Herzog-Evans (ed.), Transnational criminology manual. Oisterwijk, Netherlands: Wolf Legal Publishing.

  2. R.J. Wilson, R. J., J.E. Picheca, & M. Prinzo (2007).“Evaluating the effectiveness of professionally-facilitated volunteerism in the community-based management of high risk sexual offenders: PART ONE—Effects on participants and stakeholders”, Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 46, 289-302.

  3. R.J. Wilson, R. J., J.E. Picheca, & M. Prinzo (2007). “Evaluating the effectiveness of professionally-facilitated volunteerism in the community-based management of high risk sexual offenders: PART TWO—A comparison of recidivism rates”, Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 46, 327-337.

  4. Brown, R.E. & Y. Dandurand, Y “Successful Strategies that Contribute to Safer Communities”, (2007). Paper prepared for 16 the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Vienna, Austria.

Book Resources 

  1. FRIENDSHIP: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond, Lydia Denworth, London: Bloomsbury Sigma, 2020.

  2. The Politics of Restorative Justice, A Critical introduction, Andrew Woolford and Amanda Nelund, Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2020.

  3. Justice that Transforms, Wayne Northey, Portland: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2020, (Volume One); Amazon and Kindle, 2018 (Volumes Two and Three).

  4. Reconcile: Conflict Transformation for Ordinary Christians, John Paul Lederach, Windsor: Herald Press, 2014.

  5. Blanket Toss Under Midnight Sun, Paul Seeseaquasis, Toronto: Knopf, 2019.

  6. The North-West is our Mother, The Story of Louis Riel's People, The Métis Nation, Jean Teillet, Patrick Crean Editions, 2019.

  7. Wisdom from the Homeless, Neil Craton, Victoria: Friesen Press, 2018.

  8. Are We Done Fighting: Building Understanding in a World of Hate and Division, Matthew Legge, Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers, 2019.

  9. Invited: The Power of Hospitality in an Age of Loneliness, Leslie Verner, Windsor: Herald Press, 2019.

  10. More Together than Alone: Discovering the Power and Spirit of Community in Our Lives and in the World, Mark Nebo, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2018.

  11. Team Human, Douglas Rushkoff, W.W. Norton, 2019.

  12. A Cry Unheard: New Insights into the Medical Consequences of Loneliness, James J. Lynch, Baltimore: Bancroft Press,  2000.

  13. A Culture of Peace: God’s Vision for the Church, Alan Kreider, Eleanor Kreider, Intercourse PA.: Good Books, 2005.

  14. Down Inside: Thirty Years in Canada's Prison Service, Fredericton NB: Goose Lane Books, 2017.

  15. Changing Paradigms: Punishment and Restorative Discipline, Paul Redekop, Scottdale: Herald Press 2008.

  16. Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence, Alex Roslin, Lac Brome Québec: Sugar Hill Books, 2017.

  17. The Broken Heart  The Medical Consequence of Loneliness, James J. Lynch, New York: Basic Books, 1977.


Restorative Justice Classics

  1. Abolitionism: Towards A Non-Repressive Approach to Crime, Herman Bianchi and René van Swaaningen, Editors, Free University Press, Amsterdam, 1986.

  2. A Restorative Justice Reader: texts, sources, context, edited by Gerry Johnstone, Willan Publishing, Portland, 2003.

  3. Beyond Retribution: A New Testament Vision for Justice, Crime and Punishment, Christopher D. Marshall, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 2001.

  4. Building Community Justice Partnerships: Community Peacemaking Circles, Barry D, Stuart, Aboriginal Justice Section, Department of Justice, Ottawa, 1997; phone: (613)941-4105.

  5. Changing Lenses: A New Focus for Crime and Justice, Howard Zehr, Herald Press, Scottdale, 1990.

  6. Compassionate Justice: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue with Two Gospel Parables on Law, Crime, and Restorative Justice, Christopher D. Marshall, Eugene Oregon: Cascade Books, 2012.

  7. Crime Control as Industry: Towards GULAGS, Western Style, Nils Christie, Routledge, London, 1995.

  8. Criminology as Peacemaking, Ed. by Harold E. Pepinsky and Richard Quinney, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1991.

  9. God's Just Vengeance: Crime, violence and the rhetoric of salvation, Timothy Gorringe, Cambridge University Press, 1996.

  10. Have You Seen Candace?: A true story of faith and forgiveness, Wilma Derksen, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, 1991.

  11. Dispelling the Clouds: a desperate social experiment, Wilma Derksen, Winnipeg: Amity Publishers, 2020.

  12. Justice as Sanctuary: Toward a New System of Crime Control, Herman Bianchi, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1994.

  13. Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition, Harold J. Berman, Harvard University Press, Cambridge and London, 1983.

  14. New Perspectives on Crime and Justice: Occasional Papers of the MCC Canada Victim Offender Ministries Program and the MCC U.S. Office of Criminal Justice, Issues 1 – 14, April, 1984 to February, 1994.

  15. No Future Without Forgiveness, Desmond Mpilo Tutu, New York: Doubleday, 1999.

  16. Rediscovering Spiritual Roots: The Judeo-Christian Tradition and Criminal

  17. ”, Wayne Northey, The Justice Professional, “Criminology as Peacemaking” (double issue), guest editors, Dennis Sullivan and Larry Tifft, Gordon and Breach publishers, 1998.

  18. Restoring Justice, Daniel Van Ness and Karen Heetderks Strong, Cincinnati: Anderson Publishing Company1997

  19. Returning to the Teachings: Exploring Aboriginal Justice, Rupert Ross, Penguin Books, 1996.

  20. Stories of Transformative Justice, Ruth Morris, Canadian Scholars’ Press, Inc. Toronto, 2000.

  21. The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America, Mark Lewis     Taylor, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 2001.

  22. The Expanding Prison: The Crisis in Crime and Punishment and the Search for

  23. , David Cayley, Anansi: Toronto, 1998.

  24. The Death Penalty: An Historical and Theological Survey, James J. Megivern, Paulist Press, New York, 1997.

  25. The Fall of the Prison: Biblical Perspectives on Prison Abolition, Lee Griffith, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1993.

  26. The Justice Professional, "Criminology as Peacemaking" (double issue), guest editors, Dennis Sullivan and Larry Tifft, Gordon and Breach publishers, 1998.

  27. The Spiritual Roots of Restorative Justice, Hadley, Michael, ed., New York, SUNY Press, 2001.



  1. CoSA Canada:

  2. Circles of Support and Accountability:

  3. Justice Reflections – Worldwide Papers Linking Christian Ideas With Matters of Justice:; Terry Nowell (Editor) (, c/o 4 Redcar Close, Lincoln, LN6 8TA, United Kingdom; Tel: +44 (0) 1522 682357; Email:

  4. Restorative Justice Links:

  5. The Conversation:

YouTube Videos


Mysteries of the Mind: The Pedophile’s Brain


Meet the Female Pedophile


The Paedophile Next Door

Special report: Inside the 'Circle'

Coming Home


Films of interest

source: CoSA Canada Website:

• Happiness: A professional who becomes a pedophile predator, the impact on the family & the community reaction.

• For a lost soldier (Dutch-Canadian film): A Canadian soldier, part of the liberating forces in WWII, is a pedophile. A good portrayal of the predatory nature & grooming that was part of the relationship that he develops with the boy, told from the viewpoint of the child as an adult.

• Mysterious Skin: Portrays the impact on two teenagers of their victimisation as boys.

• À l’origine d’un cri (French): A Long term consequences on a male victim.

• Precious: Incest, individual, family & societal impacts.

• Élève Libre: French Belgian film, showing the slow deconstruction of a teenager’s healthy sexuality, as the adult grooms him for eventually abuse. Excellent example of hebephilia & the denial of the offender.

• Elles étaient 5 (French), a dramatic story of the rape & murder of a woman.


• Capturing the Freidmans: a documentary leaving you questioning did they or did they not sexually molest. Dramatic portrayal of the impact on the family as it is torn

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