British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

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Forum Members  

John Cowley - Chair

John is a BACP Board Member and has Chaired the Association for University and College Counsellors (AUCC), the Equality and Diversity Forum, is a past Deputy Chair of the Association and is a BACP Fellow. The Criminal Justice Forum (CJF) should be of interest to every counsellor and psychotherapist. All counsellors and psychotherapists have come into contact with clients who have been victims of crime, many counsellors and psychotherapists will have been required to provide case notes or act as witnesses. Some will, themselves, have been the victims of crime; some may work for Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) supporting employees who work with the police or prison officers; some will work in health settings or drug or alcohol teams; some will work with students who have committed crimes. Supervisors work with members who work in this arena; some will work in victim support; some will work in pre-trial therapy; some will work as prison chaplains; some will work in drug and alcohol teams; some will work with men and women in secure settings; some will work with ex-offenders on release and some will work with reformed offenders, occasionally knowing that to be the case, however often without knowing.

I am pleased to chair the CJF as it is an issue that has an impact on us all and the society in which we live.


Andy Bell

Sainsbury Centre for Mental health Further information to follow.


Chris Wilson

Chris manages a therapeutic project working primarily with young people and their families where sexual abuse is an issue; victims and young people showing sexually harmful behaviours. As a manager he helps nurture a safe environment in which to provide group and individual therapeutic and creative counselling, assessment and intervention.

He takes the lead on participation and arranges annual “Have Your Say” days to listen to the voice of the children, young people and parents/carers who use the service. The outcomes and responses help to focus the directional need of the service development, provision and annual project plans.

Over his working career he has presented to very different audiences such as corporate bodies, private sector, community clubs (i.e. Rotary), parents and young people, senior health and social care management, funders, courts and conferences. Chris' presentations have always been well received and understood.

There has recently been a plethora of new guidance, policy, procedure and legislation in the area of health and social care developments including young people with sexually harmful behaviour; Children and Young Persons Act 1989 and 2004, Sex Offenders Act 2003, Bichard and Laming reports, Childhood Lost, enhanced disclosure, Every Child Matters agendas (03/04), Data Protection (1998), and Human and UN Rights of the Child. There also seems to have been an apparent increase in local social service thresholds of safeguarding levels, which all have impacts on the young people and families involved.

Chris' interest is in the protection of children and young people and specifically pre-trial therapy.


Clare Lennie

Dr Clare Lennie CPsychol is a counselling psychologist who lectures in Education and Counselling Psychology at the University of Manchester. Her interest in criminal justice stems primarily from a proposed Doctorate in Counselling Psychology that the University is hoping to launch in September 2010. Part of this programme will explore therapeutic placements for the students within the prison and police service as part of their integrated offender management work. Research links are in these settings are presently being explored, particularly around the narrative histories of those caught up in the offender pathway.

Contact details:


Ian Thompson

Ian is the Equality and Diversity Advisor for the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. His interest in working with the CJF stems from his considerable experience of working within the Criminal Justice System (CJS) as a counsellor for a Secure Services Unit for young people. During his time Ian acknowledged and responded to the lack of therapeutic and psychological support and treatment within the CJS by working with partner agencies to reduce the inconsistencies of psychological assessment and support within different settings that greatly disadvantaged young people. This was achieved by devising strategies to ensure essential information was transferred between institutions and ensured that these institutions and resettlement agencies continued the work of internal therapeutic support including aspects of cultural and diversity interventions pertinent to the young person. This intervention secured Ian the Local Criminal Justice Board Award for Diversity in 2007. As an estimated nine out of ten people within the CJS have at least one or more mental health disorders, Ian is keen to help influence strategy to ensure fair and just access to psychological support and treatment to all within the CJS.


Jackie Kerr

Jackie Kerr LLB is a senior policy advisor with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The CPS is the independent authority responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:

  • advising the police and reviewing the evidence in cases for possible prosecution;
  • deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute;
  • preparing cases for court; and
  • presenting cases at court.

Jackie has worked for the CPS for over 20 years in a variety of roles. Her present post sees her taking the lead in a wide range of victim and witness policy issues.

Jackie’s interest in the Criminal Justice Forum stems from her ongoing work revising the existing joint Home Office/CPS/Department of Health Guidance on providing pre trial therapy for prosecution witnesses. Jackie has also recently published a public policy statement setting out how the CPS will support people with mental health issues who are victims of, or witnesses to, crime.

Further information about the CPS can be obtained from:


Jan Watson

Jan is the Personal Assistant to BACP's Chief Executive.

Aside from having a general interest in the criminal justice field, which she is keen to extend through her involvement in the Forum, Jan will also bring her experience of BACP procedures to help develop the Forum's position, activity, scope and influence within the Association, and externally as appropriate. She will also facilitate a direct communication link to and from the Chief Executive.


Jane Mackay

Jane M Mackay RGN RHV MSc

Jane qualified as a general nurse but became more interested in what makes people ‘tick’ and the psychological aspects of everyday life, and how this is manifested in ill health, and trained as a health visitor. Having been one of the very early appointed dedicated nurses dealing with child abuse and neglect, which came to the fore when she was asked to join the HMP Inspectorate and met many young people in prison, Jane has also chaired many mental homicide inquiries, making her acutely aware of the trauma experienced by both the victim’s and the perpetrator’s families. Other appointments have been as the nursing advisor to the health ombudsman and working with Macmillan Cancer Fund to improve palliative care services across the NHS.

The time spent as an HMP inspector left Jane with a desire to try and improve and support people and their families who are affected by the loss of their liberty, and also to understand the issues for those people who act as their “custodians”.


Jonathan Asser

Jonathan Asser (BA [Hons], PGCE, MA, MSc) is an Accredited Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, having gained his accreditation working six years as an honorary psychotherapist seeing patients individually and in groups within the Psychotherapy Department of Charing Cross Hospital. He is also an Organizational Consultant member of the Tavistock Society of Psychotherapists and Allied Professionals. His interest in the Forum relates to his origination and development of Shame/Violence Intervention (SVI), which won the 2008 BACP Innovation Award. SVI is a programme evaluated at HM Prison Service national level and it works with violently enacting prisoners in a new way, inhabiting the dynamics of violent gang culture in the heat of the escalating moment to achieve de-escalation, alongside the capacity to nurture and repair social bonds. Jonathan is particularly keen to make contact with practitioners working with school-age young people at risk of becoming involved in the criminal justice system.


Julie Wright

Julie Wright LL.B FRSA is Deputy Chief Executive of UNLOCK, the National Association of Reformed Offenders; a small independent charity which tackles the financial and social exclusion and discrimination facing individuals who have past criminal convictions, both at policy level and through practical projects.

As part of its work, UNLOCK directly provides information and advice to several thousand people each year, either in prison or the community, via letter, telephone and email, or indirectly through its web-based resources. Mostly, people are looking for practical solutions to the problems they face. In some cases, however, individuals are seeking ongoing personal and emotional support as they try to rebuild their lives. Whilst listening and responding where possible, UNLOCK readily acknowledges that such support is beyond its scope to adequately provide, yet is frustrated by the lack of available services currently available to which individuals may be referred.

Recently the charity launched the UNLOCK Discussion Forum, a unique place for UNLOCK members to come together and share their experiences and the problems that they face living with a criminal record. Julie is enthusiastic that the experiences of its members may engender a better empathy amongst BACP practitioners of the personal legacy left by imprisonment, and the stigma and exclusion attached to having been labelled ‘criminal’ when a person is trying to ‘go straight’. It is hoped that in this way improved future availability of services may be offered to those in need of support.

Louise Clark

Louise Clark is a Development Worker for CLINKS in the southwest and is also currently conducting participatory action research with Gibran on sex work in Wales.

She previously co-managed a NOMS pilot residential project, to divert women from custody in line with Baroness Corston's recommendations. Her career also includes managing the Sex Workers in Prison project (SWIP), co-ordinating Voluntary Sector support services in a women's prison with Nacro for 4 years and contributing  to the production of groundbreaking resources: ‘The Pain Inside' book for women in prison who self-injure and ‘Going Home' a resettlement DVD for Welsh Women.

She has contributed to support service developments in resettlement units and juvenile units and developed and delivered numerous new initiatives for socially excluded groups in the Southwest, for asylum seekers, refugees, young mothers, care leavers and teenage homeless, as well as work on commissioning strategies between the public and third sector.

She is a member of the UK Network of Sex Work Projects Policy Committee, Howard League for Penal Reform, an associate of Gibran (supporting Welsh female offenders) and is a volunteer outreach worker with a sex worker project in Bristol.

May 2010: ‘Sex Workers in Prison: Perceptions, Training and Provision' Prison Service Journal (#189)

April 2007: Sex Workers In Prison Project Evaluation Report (Launched by Baroness Corston)
March 2007: ‘Street Sex Workers' Experience of Accessing Health Services' A report for the Department of Health
October 2006: ‘Provision of Support for Imprisoned Adult Female Street-based Sex Workers'
Research Paper Mannheim Centre for the Study of Criminology & Criminal Justice, LSE

September 2009

‘Sex Workers In Prison and Harm Minimisation'
Crime & Justice Research Network Seminar, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
‘Sex Workers In Prison'
Sisters Inside International Conference, Brisbane, Australia


Juliet Lyon

Juliet Lyon is Director of the Prison Reform Trust and a BACP Vice President. Further information to follow.

Elisabeth Ross

The Forensic Therapists Association [FTA] was set up by a group of forensic therapists who met and trained at the Wealden Psychology Institute in East Sussex. We enjoyed the support, sharing and discussion of experiences and possibilities of therapeutic interventions. We also felt that we would like to roll out this opportunity to others working in the same field. Together we believe that we could become better therapists developing good practice and influencing future policy in this area.

Hence the FTA came into being. So far we have organised two conferences with another planned for later this year. Our website is now on-line and a regular newsletter is being planned.

We are currently working on two projects:

One is a research plan for establishing a baseline of therapeutic provision in prisons with a view to developing an acceptable protocol in this area.

The second is a project at the stage of being firmed up as a proposal of a targeted risk reduction programme for dangerous criminals on indeterminate prison sentence (IPP).

For further information please look us up on