BUILT BY THE COMMUNITY
FOR THE COMMUNITY

Our goal is to focus on developing tools & resources together with the community.

Opening the Circle is a two year project (2013-2015) funded by the Department of Justice and hosted by the Sexual Assault Centre London. The project brought together people impacted by sexual abuse/violence to build community and create useful tools that can help others now and in the future.

The goals of the project include:

  1. A website with information about sexual abuse/violence
  2. A Lifespan Tool (on the website) that helps individuals reflect on the state of their whole life
  3. Peer Support guidelines that lay a foundation for progressive Peer Support programming
  4. A service coordination and learning network that will create opportunities for service providers and community members to work toward a more integrated and responsive system

It is so important for individuals impacted by sexual abuse or violence to realize that they are not alone.

John Swales,Opening the Circle Member

WE BUILD THE ROAD AS WE WALK IT

Opening the Circle is an emergent project.
This means that the participants helped to guide the development of the project as it has unfolded.

Monthly meetings were held between December 2013 and May 2015. These meetings shaped the next steps and the development of the tools.

Over 75 people came forward to participate at different times. A core group of 20-25 people came regularly.

The core group included community members and professionals. Working together on a shared project is a way to build community.


OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES

  1. Be democratic and participatory by design
  2. Build quality relationships that are inclusive and respectful of the diversity of life experiences
  3. Foster safe and welcoming Action Groups that recognize everyone has an important contribution to make
  4. Move forward with those who show up


OUR THEORY OF CHANGE

Our Theory of Change sets out our long-term goals to create more responsive and integrated services in a more supportive community in London and Middlesex. These are the big picture changes we want for our people who have experienced violence and abuse.

To achieve these goals, Opening the Circle members attended two workshops to figure out how to show our 'theory' of change. We believe that by creating the conditions where individuals can experience a greater sense of belonging and wholeness that we will also create lasting system change. The project provided the laboratory for us to learn and experiment.

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