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Karen Slade

Karen Slade


School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)


Karen is Professor of applied forensic psychology (Teaching and Practice) and on secondment to Her Majesties' Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), as Strategic Lead for Deaths Under Supervision, leading on cross-service development work focussed on the prevention of deaths under probation supervision.

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 working closely with many prisons and police forces, both nationally and internationally.  Her expertise is in the operational and strategic development of strong evidence-based and effective developments to prevent suicide and other preventable deaths and working with those who self-harm who are in contact with the criminal justice system.  She is an international expert on Dual Harm - people who are both violent and self-harm and is developing a strong research and practice foundation in developing understanding and practice in this area.

Karen's current research and practice areas include:

  • Prevention and management of self harm, suicide and violence risk within the criminal justice system
  • Mental health services for those in contact with the criminal justice system
  • 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, Probation Service and HMPPS as well as as consultant and advisor across the criminal justice system in the development and implementation of new ways of working to support safety, reduce self-harm and preventable deaths with a specific focus on suicide prevention and developing more effective practice in the management of dual harm. 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 as a practitioner and Senior and Strategic Leader.  She 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 within forensic populations
  • Dual harm: violence and self-harm
  • Organisational developments and learning in CJS to reduce preventable deaths
  • 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

    • Secondment as Strategic Lead for Deaths Under Supervision with HMPPS.
    • Chartered Psychologist & Full Member of the Division of Forensic Psychology (British Psychological Society)
    • Registered Forensic Psychologist (Health and Care Professions Council).
    • Consultancy to HMP Lowdham Grange, HMP Nottingham, HMP Featherstone, HMP Woodhill, HMP Cardiff & Nottinghamshire Police
    • Founding member and Lead for Forensic Harm Prevention Network (FHPN) & International self-harm in prison network
    • Professional supervision of psychologists
    • Division of Forensic Psychology Executive Committee (2013-2019)
    • External Examiner at Cardiff Metropolitan University (PgDip Practitioner Psychologist) & Glasgow Caledonian University (MSc Forensic Psychology)

Sponsors and collaborators

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

Press expertise

  • Prisons and Probation including Approved Premises
  • Self-harm, dual harm, suicide & preventable death management in forensic populations
  • Prison staff resilience and working relationships
  • Forensic psychology