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Nicholas Blagden

Nicholas Blagden


School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)


Dr Nicholas Blagden is an Associate Professor in Forensic Psychology and is the Associate Head of the Sexual Offences Crime and Misconduct Research Unit

He supervises PhD and DPsych students within forensic psychology on topics including prevention of sexual offending, barriers to reintegration for individuals with sexual convictions, voyeurism, desistance from crime via peer support roles and prison circles of support. He teaches on the MSc Forensic Psychology including 'Mixed Methods', reflective practice and leads the module on 'Policing, Justice System and Psychology'.

Career overview

Dr Nicholas Blagden is an Associate Professor in Forensic Psychology and is the Associate Head of the Sexual Offences Crime and Misconduct Research Unit and a Chartered Psychologist. He has worked and researched within the Criminal Justice System and HM Prison Service for nearly 15 years. He started his career as a paralegal before moving to Nottinghamshire probation, he has trained police officers and worked in prison settings. He has previously held Lectureships at the University of Huddersfield (Applied Criminology and Policing) and University of Lincoln (Forensic Psychology). He has previously been the Course Leader for the MSc Forensic Psychology.

Research areas

Dr Blagden is the Associate Head of the Sexual Offences Crime and Misconduct Research Unit and helps to oversee a programme of research with national and international collaborations. His work and the work of SOCAMRU has had significant impact on national and international policy. He is committed to conducting impactful research that has practical relevance for the Criminal Justice System and for the reintegration and rehabilitation for individuals with sexual convictions more specifically. Dr Blagden's research into denial and individuals with sexual convictions changed a key organising principle for treatment with that client group. Current research projects include:-

  • Therapeutic and rehabilitative climate in prisons
  • Reintegration and rehabilitation of individuals with sexual convictions
  • Aetiology of deviant sexual interest
  • Exploring religiosity and individuals with sexual offences
  • Crime desistance through meaningful experience including peer support roles.
  • Prison circles of support
  • Fathering in prison
  • Intrafamilial offending

External activity

Dr Nicholas Blagden is a co-founder and trustee of the charity Safer Living Foundation (SLF), a charity set up in 2014 to conduct (and evaluate) initiatives that help to prevent further victims of sexual crime. The charity is running three main projects to help prevent sexual victimisation and also reintegrate and rehabilitation men with sexual victims in order to create fewer victims. The first project is Circles of Support and Accountability. We currently run prison-based Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA), community-based CoSA (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire) and CoSA for young people with sexually harmful behaviour.  The second project is The Aurora Project (TAP). We work with people who are concerned that they will sexually offend, but who have not yet done so and who are distressed by their thoughts and feelings. Our counselling helps prevent sexual offending before it happens and provides an opportunity for people to tackle problematic thoughts before they escalate. Our third project is the Corbett Centre of Prisoner Reintegration, which aims to help men with predominantly sexual convictions transition back into society and reduce reoffending through building on their social skills, life skills and offering practical, social and emotional support. The centre will provide employability and skills training, assist with social support and peer mentoring, provide suitable activities for leisure time and constructive employability-based workshops/courses. The SLF is a multi-award winning charity, who have worked with many high risk men and we have had zero sexual reconvictions.

Dr Blagden also sits on the national Organisation for the Treatment of Abusers (NOTA) Policy and Practice committee

Dr Blagden is involved in numerous national and international research collaborations and currently works with HMPPS, Corrective services Australia, Institute of Mental Health Ottawa, Canada, Ministry of Justice, Scottish Government.

Sponsors and collaborators

Dr Blagden has held research grants from the National Offender Management Service (pi) and BIAL (co-applicant). He works on joint projects with:

  • Ministry of Justice
  • HM Prison Service in particular HMP Whatton

He has collaborated with:

  • Corrective Services Australia
  • Institute of Mental Health, Ottawa, Canada
  • Ministry of Justice
  • HMP Whatton, HMP Stafford, HMP Rye Hill, HMP Stocken, Lowdham Grange, HMP Whitemoor, Rampton Secure Hospital
  • University of Lincoln
  • Nottinghamshire Police and Probation
  • NOTA

Press expertise

  • Sexual offending
  • Sex offender rehabilitation
  • Sex offender treatment
  • Paedophilia and paedophiles
  • Prison and prison environment and culture
  • Prison and punishment
  • Offender resettlement
  • Crime desistance