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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 Course Leader for the DPsych in Forensic Psychology. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

At MSc level, Karen leads the Prison, Rehabilitation and Aftercare module and she also supervises BSc and MSc projects.

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

Karen's current research areas include:

  • Prediction of self-harm, suicide and violence risk in offenders
  • The impact on prison staff of working in difficult environments
  • Mental health services for offenders
  • Violence and self-harm (Dual harm) behaviour
  • Organisational approaches to suicide and violence prevention

Career overview

Karen has practiced in the area of Forensic Psychology for over 18 years, working for the HM Prison Service from 1999-2011. She gained full membership of the Division of Forensic Psychology and Chartership with the BPS in 2003 and is registered with the HCPC as a Forensic Psychologist and supervisor. She is Policy Lead for the Executive Committee for the BPS Division of Forensic Psychology. She completed her doctorate entitled 'The Interplay between Risk and Protective Factors in the Prediction of Self-Harm or Suicidal Behaviour within a Prison Environment' at the University of Roehampton.

She has presented her research at international conferences and published widely centring on self-harm and suicide, violence and mental health services with a focus on offenders and prison environment. Karen has extensive experience in practice including risk assessment, intervention, consultancy, crisis management, training and supervision. She has provided external training to a range of organisations on Motivational Interviewing (as a MINT accredited trainer) and the implementation and development of offending intervention.

Research areas

Karen's main research interests include:

  • Self-harm and suicide by offenders
  • Dual harm: violence and self-harm in offenders
  • 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 offenders

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
    • Policy Lead for Division of Forensic Psychology Executive Committee

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
  • Mental health in prison
  • Self-harm and suicide in offenders
  • Prison staff resilience and working relationships
  • Forensic psychology
  • Rehabilitation of offenders