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 is a co-founder of the Safer Living Foundation, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Chartered Psychologist and Associate Head of the Sexual Offences Crime and Misconduct Research Unit. He has worked and researched within criminal justice and prison settings for over 10 years. He has led programme evaluations, has a track record of high quality research and disseminated his work widely in international journals. He works collaboratively with HMPPS, MoJ, Correctional Services Australia and numerous third sector organisations.

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 Head of Forensic, Health, and Counselling Psychology at the University of Derby. 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.