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Kerry Daynes – Forensic psychologist, speaker, TV presenter, campaigner and author of new book, The Dark Side of the Mind  

Kerry Daynes book, The Dark Side of the Mind, on a shelf in an airport store

Kerry Daynes has spent her working life delving into the psyche of the most complex and challenging convicted men and women. Most importantly to try to understand what lies behind their actions. Furthermore how to help them on the path to becoming law-abiding citizens.

Law and order are very firmly back on the national agenda in a way that we haven’t seen since the James Bulger case. The rise in re-offending and our appalling rape conviction statistics have led Kerry Daynes to become a campaigner for change. Moreover for a better understanding behind the stereotypes of crime – of good vs evil and monstrous psychopaths. She believes it is time to change the question from ‘What is wrong with them?’ to altogether more awkward, uncomfortable question. And she believes it should start with ‘What has happened to them?’ And ‘what has happened to us as a society?’

In her acclaimed book, The Dark Side of the Mind Kerry reveals what she has learnt in 20 years of working closely with extreme behaviour. She explains how it affected and changed her. Likewise how it has taught her the value of new beginnings for us all.  Above all for victims, criminals and for society as a whole.

Kerry doesn’t fit their stereotype of what a forensic psychologist should look like (basically Robbie Coltrane in Cracker).

Many people express surprise when they find out what Kerry does for a job.  She is pretty, softly-spoken, funny and, of course, a woman. However, women make up 73 per cent of the British Psychological Society (the professional body for practising psychologists in the United Kingdom). A whopping 80 per cent of its forensic division.

She has witnessed a mushrooming in prisoner numbers (more than doubling throughout her career). For example the effects of some of the deepest austerity cuts on the work of the Ministry for Justice. And the explosion in the reporting of child sex offences. Kerry herself has been the victim of stalking.  She has also had to withstand abusive, misogynistic behaviour from both clients and from prison staff.

Part of her day job still involves acting as an expert witness in court, for parole boards and training the police. She is often invited to act as a psychological specialist in major police investigations. She is a trusted advisor to the British government regarding the safe management of high-risk individuals.

To sum Kerry up, rather than feeling compromised and frustrated within the system, she now spends the majority of her time trying to effect change from the outside.  She is a powerful speaker and a highly valued media expert.  Kerry is also a passionate advocate for better conversations on mental health. She is a patron of the National Centre for Domestic Violence and Talking2Minds.

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