Trustee biographies

Dr Lynn Saunders Hon

Lynn Saunders is Professor Applied Criminology, and Head of Law and Social Sciences at the University of Derby. She previously worked in the criminal justice system for 35 years most recently as the Governor of HMP Whatton where she developed a range of innovative projects including the anti-libidinal project, services for older people in prison, and a palliative care project. Whatton also received the first Deaf aware prison award and the National Autistic Society award for the support of people on the autistic spectrum in prison under her leadership.

She qualified as a Probation Officer in 1986 and has a degree in Applied Social Sciences an MA in Criminology, and a PhD from the University of Nottingham.

She Co-founded and Chairs, the Safer Living Foundation in 2014 and is a trustee of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation and the National Organisation for the Treatment of Abuse.

Lynn was awarded an honorary doctorate from Nottingham Trent University in 2015 and Keele University in 2018 in recognition of her work with people with sexual convictions. She also awarded an OBE in the 2017 New Year’s honours list and the Guardian Public Sector Leadership Excellence award in 2019. Since 2021 she has been an Honorary professor of social sciences at Nottingham Trent University.

Claire Hampson

Claire is a Business/Leadership Trainer with a passion for building and developing teams and getting results from any business and its people. She specialises in Leading & Managing people, Performance Management, Executive Coaching/Mentoring. Claire has worked within the criminal justice and prison settings since 2013 and has been working with the Safer Living Foundation since 2020. Claire is currently Vice Chair of the SLF.

Dr Kerensa Hocken

A co-founder of the SLF, Kerensa is a HCPC registered, and BPS chartered Forensic Psychologist who specialises in the assessment and treatment of people who commit sexual offences. She holds a senior position in Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS). Kerensa has worked with people who commit sexual offences since 2001 and has a special interest in those with intellectual disability. In 2016 Kerensa was the overall winner of the prestigious Butler Trust award, recognised for her long-term work in custody with those who have an intellectual disability. She is an internationally recognised expert on sexual offending and has published widely in the field. More recently Kerensa has written about the role of compassion and acceptance methods for working with people who have problematic sexual interests and has been pivotal in the initiation and development of a forensic special interest group for Compassion Focused Therapy within the Compassionate Mind Foundation. Kerensa is a co-host on The Forensic Psychology Podcast.

Dr Nicholas Blagden

Nicholas Blagden is a is a Professor of Criminological Psychology and the Director of the Centre for Criminology and Social Policy at the University of Derby. Prof. Blagden has worked and researched within the Criminal Justice System and HM Prison and Probation Service for nearly 15 years. He is also a co-founder and trustee of the Safer Living Foundation, a Chartered Psychologist, a registered psychotherapist, and sits on both the HMPPS Correctional Services Advice and Accreditation Panel (CSAAP) and the National Organisation for the Treatment of Abuse (NOTA) Policy and Practice Committee.

Professor Geraldine Akerman

Geraldine is a chartered and HCPC registered forensic psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. She worked for the prison service since 1999 assessing risk and providing treatment to men convicted of violent and sexual offences and with complex needs. She is been on the Committee of the Division of Forensic Psychology since 2009, and the National Organisation for the Treatment of Abusers Research committee. Geraldine was the co-editor of Forensic Update and currently a reviewer for it, along with other major journals in the area of Forensic Psychology, and the Issues in Forensic Psychology book series. Geraldine is a visiting Lecturer at the University of Birmingham and Cardiff Metropolitan University. Geraldine has published book chapters and in peer reviewed journals on a range of subjects and was awarded a PhD by the University of Birmingham in 2015. Geraldine has been a member of Therapeutic Communities Accreditation Panel, and the JUSTICE working party for sentencing sexual offences. Geraldine currently works as a Forensic Psychologist in the Integrated Mental health Team at HMP Grendon.  Geraldine was presented with the Senior Practitioner Award by the Division of Forensic Psychology 2018 for her distinguished contribution to forensic psychology.

Dr Karin Spenser

Karin is Professor of Applied Psychology at Leeds Trinity University. She gained her PhD in Forensic Psychology in 2017 from Nottingham Trent University. As well as being a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (BPS), she is an experienced Magistrate working in both the adult criminal and family courts. As well as having academic knowledge of this field, she also brings professional experience having worked for the Safer living Foundation, before becoming a trustee. Further, as psychology has the second biggest gender divide in Higher Education with women outnumbering men by 4:1, she is involved in widening access to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion in Forensic and Health Psychology with the BPS Forensic Division. Karins main areas of research include women offenders who may have committed their crimes as a result of Intimate Partner Violence (including coercion, retaliation, or self-defence) and the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Individuals. Both projects involve national and international collaborations.

Kirsty Teague

Kirsty Teague is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Derby (since January 2023), having previously worked at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) from 2016-2023, as a Senior Lecturer, Lecturer, and before that a Research Associate. Her doctoral research focuses on the rehabilitation and reintegration of individuals with sexual convictions post-release from prison. Kirsty’s professional activities (teaching, research, and practice) are all aligned with this focus. Kirsty previously led the HMP Whatton-NTU Learning Together programme and has done much research with people with a sexual conviction, including most recently work on the sociology of vindictiveness and the implications for social and criminal justice. Kirsty’s work is informed by public criminology, in particular a commitment to social justice. Kirsty has been a Trustee of the Safer Living Foundation (SLF) since December 2021, and comes to the post committed to making a difference and bringing about positive change with those who work alongside the SLF.

Prof Daragh McDermott

Professor Daragh McDermott is the Associate Dean for Psychology in the School of Social Sciences. He is Professor of Social & LGBTQ psychology with expertise in prejudice, discrimination and LGBTQ population’s wellbeing. He is a Chartered Psychologist, an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Prior to joining NTU in 2021, Daragh was Head of School and Associate Professor of Social and LGBTQ Psychology in the School of Psychology & Sport Science at ARU Cambridge where he worked from 2011 – 2021.

Daragh’s research focusses on sexual and gender minorities and has included examinations of the prevalence prejudice and discrimination, sexual health, conceptual understandings of prejudice and the development and validation of both psychometric measures and interventions aimed at improving attitudes and enhancing psychological wellbeing.