Staff profile

Dr Karin Spenser

Discipline Lead: Head of Forensic and Health Psychology

karin spenser




College of Health, Psychology and Social Care


School of Psychology

Research centre

Health and Social Care Research Centre, Human Sciences Research Centre




Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I am Discipline Lead: Head of Forensic and Health Psychology. As well as having academic knowledge of this field, I also bring professional experience having worked in the rehabilitation of individuals previously convicted of a sexual offence at one of Europe's largest sex offender treatment facilities. This allows me to bring the 'real-world' into the discipline. Further, as psychology has the second biggest gender divide in HE with women outnumbering men by 4:1, I am involved in working with our Widening Access team to promote equality, diversity and inclusion in Forensic and Health Psychology.

Teaching responsibilities

I am responsible for all undergraduate programmes in Forensic and Health Psychology at the University of Derby. I am currently a guest lecturer on a number of our undergraduate modules including Biological and Social Forensic Psychology and Offenders with Mental and Intellectual Disabilities, as well as our postgraduate practice modules such as Rehabilitative Settings and Forensic Interventions.

Professional interests

As well as being a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, I am an experienced Magistrate working in both the adult criminal and family courts. I am also a trustee of the Safer Living Foundation, a charity focused on reducing sexual offending and re-offending through rehabilitative and preventative interventions.

Research interests

I am currently working on two research projects. The first aims to look at women offenders who may have committed their crimes as a result of Intimate Partner Violence (including coercion, retaliation, or self-defence) and the second aims to identify the specific needs of women veterans who, following discharge from active service, suffer emotional adversity and trauma which can make daily life difficult to navigate. Both projects involve national and international collaborations.

Membership of professional bodies


PhD - Nottingham Trent University

My PhD, which was entitled "Socio-Cognitive Determinants of Offending Behaviours" focused on reduced abilities in Theory of Mind, Empathic Understanding, and Moral Reasoning as contributory factors in antisocial and offending behaviours across all ages of male and female offenders.

Recent conferences

Experience in industry

Before moving to the world of academia I worked for the Safer Living Foundation (SLF). The SLF, based in one of Europe's largest sex offender treatment facilities, works on projects that help individuals who have committed sexual offences reintegrate back into society. Adopting a "Through the Gate" approach, I worked with vulnerable groups (individuals with an intellectual disability, the elderly, or those with very little or no social support and/or who are sexually attracted to children and/or adolescents) who may be a higher risk for up to 18 months following release.

In the media

I recently took part in several episodes of Sky's "How I Caught a Killer" series.

Recent publications