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Karen Slade

Karen Slade

Associate Professor

School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)


Karen is Associate Professor of applied forensic psychology (Teaching and Practice) and is on secondment to the National Probation Service, leading on suicide and self harm prevention within the Directorate of Reducing Reoffending, Partnerships and Accommodation, until May 2021.

She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and supervises DPsych and PhD students in all areas of forensic psychology and harm prevention.

Karen remains active in working with agencies across  the criminal justice system in the prevention of self harm, suicide and violent behaviour.

Karen's current research and practice areas include:

  • Prediction and management of self harm, suicide and violence risk in offenders
  • Mental health services for offenders
  • Understanding and managing Dual Harm (violence and self-harm) behaviour
  • Organisational approaches to suicide and violence prevention

Career overview

Karen has practiced in Forensic Psychology for over 20 years, working directly for the HM Prison Service and National Probation Service and across the criminal justice system in the development and implementation of new ways of working to support safety and suicide prevention. She is a BPS Chartered Psychologist and is registered with the HCPC as a Forensic Psychologist and supervisor. She was on the Executive Committee for the BPS' Division of Forensic Psychology 2013-2019.

Her research has focussed on understanding self harm and suicide behaviours and more recently, developing understanding of Dual Harm (both violence and self-harm).   She has published widely and presents at both academic and practice-focussed settings. Karen has extensive experience in practice and continues to work across settings in the development and implementation of effective practice including risk assessment, intervention, consultancy, crisis management as well as providing training and supervision.

Research areas

Karen's main research and practice interests include:

  • Self-harm and suicide by forensic populations
  • Dual harm: violence and self-harm
  • The impact on prison staff of working in difficult environments
  • Early stages of imprisonment and adjustment
  • Assessment and training in identification and assessment of self-harm and suicide
  • Evaluation of Mental Health Outreach and other mental health initiatives for forensic populations.

External activity

    • Full Member of the Division of Forensic Psychology (British Psychological Society)
    • Chartered Psychologist
    • Registered Forensic Psychologist (Health and Care Professions Council)
    • Assessor for Qualification in Forensic Psychology (BPS Stage 2 qualification)
    • Professional supervision of psychologists
    • Division of Forensic Psychology Executive Committee (2013-2019)

Sponsors and collaborators

  • Dr Andrew Forrester (University of Manchester)
  • Dr Seena Fazel (University of Oxford)
  • Dr Hayden Smith (University of South Carolina)
  • Dr Chiara Samele (Informed Thinking Ltd; Institute of Mental Health, Nottingham)

Press expertise

  • Prisons and Probation
  • Mental health in prison
  • Self-harm and suicide in forensic populations
  • Prison staff resilience and working relationships
  • Forensic psychology