Circles ReBoot to address a growing epidemic of Online Sexual Abuse

Circles UK

The prevalence of online child sexual abuse is increasing dramatically each year. The IWF cites 275,652 reports of online abuse in 2023. These images are more concerning than previous years with trends indicating children involved are younger (a third are aged 7-10) and the nature of the sexual abuse more serious. A large majority of images are now created with the child being coerced to film themselves in their own home. This occurs in the context of threats, grooming, blackmail, coercion and financial extortion.

Circles of Support and Accountability are an established and effective intervention for individuals who have committed sexual offences and present a high risk of sexual harm. They are delivered by a network of Approved Providers.

Circles UK responded to the growing numbers of individuals who abuse online by successfully developing, piloting and evaluating a world first Circles programme for online abusers called Circles ReBoot. It follows the Circles methodology, but was adapted to address the specific needs of this service user group. The pilot was completed in 2023 in partnership with two Circles Providers (Circles South West and Circles South East) with a positive independent evaluation conducted by independent experts. Circles ReBoot provision continues to grow.