Professor Basia Spalek

Position: Professor in Conflict Transformation

College: College of Health and Social Care

Department: Therapeutic Practice

Subject area: Counselling and Psychotherapy

Research Centre: International Centre for Guidance Studies

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I am a research professor interested in understanding how contexts characterised by conflict, distrust and violence can be re-negotiated in order to create spaces of empowerment and security.  I have undertaken research exploring community-based approaches to preventing violence, community-based approaches to counter-terrorism, police and community engagement, inter and intra community tensions and social cohesion, and critical thinking skills in relation to working with violent extremism.

I have led international, national and local research projects for wide-ranging organisations, including the European Commission, the Office for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Royal United Services Institute, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, the Home Office and West Midlands Police.  My works has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the European Union, alongside other funders.

I have also researched victimisation, victims' needs and victims' rights.  I am a BACP registered and practising Integrative Psychotherapist and I provide therapy for a wide range of different clients within diverse settings, including prisons, community contexts and at trauma clinics.  I am a specialist in working with trauma and my latest book Crime Victims and Trauma is due to be published in 2016 by Palgrave macmillan.  I am interested in applying an integrative psychotherapeutic framework to non-clinical settings, for example for agencies of the criminal justice system, for community leaders, for counter-radicalisaiton initiatives.

I am currently a member of the UK People's Tribunal on Child Sexual Abuse We are collecting informaiton about institutional child sexual abuse in order to provide material for the Independent UK inquiry into institutional child sexual abuse.

Teaching responsibilities

I teach on the MSc in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy at the University of Derby.

Research interests

Counter-terrorism, radicalisation, victimisation, trauma and conflict.

Membership of professional bodies

Nominated Expert on 'Compensation of victims, prevention of crime and related aspects relevant to the security of citizens’ for the Human Rights Law Centre, University of Nottingham, a successful tender to provide for the EU Fundamental Rights Agency reports and other services on human rights in the United Kingdom. 

Registered member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy.


  • Diploma in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy
  • Certificate in Introduction to Counselling Skills
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education 
  • PhD Trauma and Victimisation
  • MA Criminology
  • BSc (Hons) Psychology 2i

Recent publications


  • Spalek, B. (forthcoming, 2016)  Trauma and Victimisation: theory, policy and practice  Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Crabtree, S., Husain, F. & Spalek, B. (eds) (2014) Islam and Social Work: debating values, transforming work  Bristol: Policy Press 
  • Spalek, B. (2013) Governing Terror: trust, community and counter-terrorism  Bloomsbury Academic Press
  • Silk, D., Spalek, S. & O’Rawe, M. (eds) (2013)  Preventing Ideological Violence: case studies of police-community partnership  New York: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Spalek, B. (ed) (2012) Counter-terrorism: community-based approaches to preventing terror crime Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

  • Spalek, B. (forthcoming 2016) ‘Radicalisation, De-Radicalisation and Counter-radicalisation in relation to Families: key challenges for research, policy and practice’  Security Journal 
  • Spalek, B. (2014) ‘Community Engagement for Preventing Violence: the role of connectors’Conflict and Terrorism Studies Vol. 37 (10)  pp. 825-841 
  • Spalek, B. & O’Rawe, M. (2013) ‘Researching counter-terrorism: a critical perspective from the field in light of allegations of covert activities by undercover police officers’  Critical Studies on Terrorism  Vol. 10 (1)  pp. 1-15 
  • Spalek, B. & Davies, L. (2012) ‘Mentoring in relation to Violent Extremism: a study of role, purpose and outcomes’ Conflict and Terrorism Studies Vol.35(5) pp. 354-368 
  • Spalek, B. (2011) ‘New Terrorism’ and Crime Prevention Initiatives Involving
  • Muslim Young People in the UK: Research and Policy Contexts, Religion, State and Society, 39(2-3) pp. 191-207

Recent conferences

  • European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies ‘Radicalisation, Trauma and Victimisation’  June 10th 2015
  • International Alert Conflict Ideas Forum Invited Participant ‘Peace-Building Approaches to Violent Extremism in Europe’  April 22nd 2015 
  • The Global Center on Cooperative Security, Canada Invited Speaker “Implementing and Evaluating Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Measures,” to be held at the Indigo Hotel in Ottawa, Canada, on 8-9th April 2015 
  • King’s College London  Invited Speaker ‘Trauma, Victimisation and Homegrown Terrorism: key challenges for community-based approaches to preventing terrorism’  Understanding and Responding to Public Reactions to Home-Grown Terrorism  Conference  April 1st   2015
  • AHRC Town Meeting Invited Participant Future Priorities Under the Conflict Theme of the Partnership for Conflict Crime and Security Research (PaCCS) 26th March 2015
  • Northamptonshire Police & Crime Commissioner Event on Victims and Witnesses: The Future of Support Services Keynote SpeakerWhat Victims Want: researching victims’ services in relation to social and criminal justice; diversity, and globalization’ October 24th 2014
  • Kingston University International Symposium Keynote Speaker  Connectors not Communities in preventing violent extremism October 12th 2014
  • Action against Terrorism Unit of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), National Conference in Kurgyzstan  Keynote Speaker Community Based Approaches to Counter-Terrorism  October 4th-5th 2011 Bishkek Kurgyzstan

Additional interests and activities

I am an enthusiastic runner and regularly complete Marathons and Half Marathons.

Experience in industry

I have acted as a consultant to the West Midlands Counter-Terrorism Unit, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD, an internationally known research and consultancy organisation), the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI, a Whitehall based governmental think tank), HM Prison Service, Wilton Park (a forum for global change), the Department for Communities and Local Government in the UK, the Australian Government Families & Communities Taskforce, the North Sea Working group on Proactive Policing in the Global Neighbourhood, the Open Society Institute, based in Budapest, the OSCE and I am currently a rapporteur to the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).

These activities have influenced policy and practice. For example, my work for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) involved writing a horizon scanning policy document on equality issues for the future, which the Equality and Diversity Lead within the CPS used to develop future practices from.  My work for the ISD and for RUSI helped to focus policy makers’ attention upon the impacts of counter-terrorism measures on communities.  My work with the Australian Government involved presenting a policy paper on the risks posed by radicalisation in relation to families. 

International experience

  • In 2015 I acted as a consultant for a project in Belfast Northern Ireland, involving Protestant communities
  • In 2015 I co-authored a European report about families and radicalisation
  • In 2014 I was a Visiting Professor at Changsha University. I delivered a course module on community based approaches to transforming conflict for an MA degree programme.

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