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Yorkshire roll-out for Circles UK paedophile scheme

Stuart
Image caption Stuart, a volunteer from South Yorkshire, said he looked past a person's crimes

A scheme which involves volunteers befriending and monitoring paedophiles is being rolled out across Yorkshire.

Circles UK, a charity funded by the Ministry of Justice, has been running projects across the UK since 2002 with the aim of reducing sexual offending.

After a pilot scheme in North Yorkshire it is taking on volunteers region-wide.

One volunteer said: "If I can get someone to a phase where they're not going to re-offend then I think it's a job worth doing."

Stuart, who is from South Yorkshire, added: "They've committed heinous crimes, we all know that, they've committed absolutely heinous crimes, but look beyond the crime and look at the person."

Self-loathing

The idea for Circles UK came from Canada, where a survey by the country's prison service found the scheme reduced re-offending by 70%.

A "circle" involves convicted paedophiles and other sex offenders meeting five or six volunteers weekly.

They talk about everything from what could lead to re-offending to finding work and fitting back into society.

The programme is based on the premise that while some offenders have friends and family to return to when they come out of prison, others do not and the more isolated they are, the more likely they are to re-offend.

Stuart added: "People might not believe this but they do have lots and lots and lots of self-loathing but I suppose my role within the circle is to maybe give a bit of self-esteem, let them move on.

"If I can get someone to a phase where they're not going to re-offend then I think that's a job worth doing."

For the full story, watch Inside Out on BBC One in the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire region on Monday at 1930 GMT.

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