We sponsor research to bring about change in how women and girls are dealt with in the criminal justice system

Our fellows

Our Fellows are at the heart of what we do... 

.....and it is in our Vision and Mission that Griffins:

  • harness the experience and knowledge of practitioners working on the front-line;
  • enable them to identify, explore and draw attention to specific issues relating to women and girls in contact with criminal justice;
  • provide them with the opportunity and the capacity to undertake robust and rigorous research whilst remaining in the workplace;
  • that through the use of qualitative research techniques, ensure the reality of the lived experience of women and girls is captured and heard;
  • supports individual growth by encouraging new ways of thinking and developing new skills, broadening experience and understanding and increasing self-confidence;
  • links them with fellow practitioners, academics and policy makers, providing the opportunity to influence and promote change, locally and nationally.  

Now meet some of our current and past fellows......

They are displayed by the year they joined Griffins, with our most recent fellows at the top.


Image of fellow Alice Moore

Alice Moore

This Fellowship gives me the opportunity to explore how housing policies and practice can be improved to benefit women involved in the criminal justice system who are homeless (or at risk of being so), with a focus on women survivors of domestic abuse.

Date joined:


I currently work at Welsh Women’s Aid, the national charity in Wales working to end domestic abuse and all forms of violence against women. As part of my role I campaign on issues that affect survivors of abuse and issues that prevent survivors from living independent lives free from violence.

Prior to this I completed an MA in Investigative Journalism. As part of this I carried out an extensive piece of work looking at the impact of budget cuts on women in England who were released from prison homeless. Many of these women had experienced abuse and violence. This piece of work involved looking at the homelessness prevention support provided to women upon release from prison by local authorities across England. This Fellowship will now give me the chance to explore the support offered to women in Wales.

I have previously assisted with research around multi-agency approaches to supporting children who have been sexually exploited. I have also supported community groups and grassroots individuals to campaign on issues such as Joint Enterprise and supporting survivors of institutional abuse. 

Image of fellow Sarah Burrows

Sarah Burrows

Whilst I am driven to undertake research to better understand need in the context of delivering appropriate services, it is exciting to have the backing and support of such an established Society.

Date joined:


I am a qualified Social Worker and have worked with children and families for over thirty years within a variety of settings including Children’s Homes, Family Centres, Looked-After Social Care Team and Youth Offending Services. 

During my time in the Youth Offending Team I developed an understanding of the impact of parental imprisonment on children and young people. This was and still is a relatively new concept with few organisations being solely responsible for developing research and offering services based on analysis of need.  

Through this work I developed an understanding of not just the immediate impact on children and young people but an awareness of reduced outcomes.

I have founded an innovative local charity for children of prisoners (Children Heard and Seen) from its point of inception to its growth over the last 2 years.  

My passion and main driver is to identify children and young people who have been impacted due to parental imprisonment; to understand the needs of this vulnerable cohort and reduce their risk of entering the criminal justice system themselves - by providing service delivery in the community where they live.

Image of fellow Pippa Goodfellow

Pippa Goodfellow

The fellowship is a timely and unique opportunity to inform delivery of gender-responsive resettlement support, grounded in the experiences and views of girls and young women themselves, and to have a significant impact on this population in the future.

Date joined:


I am currently developing and managing the five year Lottery funded Beyond Youth Custody programme (BYC) at Nacro. I have a strong interest in young people in contact with the criminal justice system, which has been a common thread throughout my career. Prior to working at Nacro I worked in crime reduction roles in both local and central government, including the national Tackling Knives Action Programme, a national Home Office programme to reduce teenage knife crime and violent offences. I have also undertaken criminal intelligence analysis for the Metropolitan Police and research at the House of Commons.

The small numbers of girls in custody is largely a result of the success of diverting them away from custody. This small number provides an opportunity for clear oversight and accountability of the agencies involved in supporting each individual girl, with the small numbers in custody seen as a chance to offer a tailored and enhanced approach. However, an unintended consequence has been that girls and young women are held much further away from home, posing challenges for resettlement.

Charlie Taylor’s review of the youth justice system is expected to make radical recommendations for how the approach to youth justice should change in custody and the community, as well as the way that services are commissioned and delivered. This provides a timely and unique opportunity to influence the way that resettlement services are delivered to girls and young women in the future.


Tabatha O'Brien-Butcher

The Griffin fellowship has offered me an exciting opportunity to work alongside women with lived experience to explore these gendered barriers, and start to develop women-centered solutions.

Date joined:


My background is in campaigning, specifically around women’s rights, sexual violence, and access to education for marginalised groups. I'm passionate about community organizing, and asset development so that communities and groups who often have their voices and experiences sidelined, can lead their own campaigns for change.

Over the past two years, I have worked for Shelter, the national homelessness and housing charity. I started on a Through the Gate criminal justice project, developing a peer mentoring programme to support people leaving custody.

I'm currently working on Inspiring Change Manchester – an eight year lottery funded programme led by Shelter, focused on changing systems for, and most importantly alongside, people experiencing severe and multiple disadvantage.

As part of my role on the programme management team, I supporting women who have experienced multiple disadvantages to develop a 'Women's Voices' movement, focused on creating pathways for women to get involved with the design and delivery of services - co-production.

In the words of one member of the Women’s Voices group, ‘There’s something stopping women from moving into co-production – having their voices heard and listened to. And services aren’t gonna [sic] move anywhere without those voices’. 

Photo of Fellow Sharon Hollingsworth

Sharon Hollingsworth

Known to my friends and family as a serial studier, the opportunity to work with the Society ...(has given me the chance) to research an experience that has left an indelible impression in my life – the care and management of Trans females in prison

Date joined:


At present I am a prison officer, and have been for the past fourteen months. I previously worked in the transportation of those in custody, which I did for two years. In that time I transported a trans female and was aggrieved to witness the attitudes of staff towards her.

I aim to interview staff from a number of agencies, within prison, with a view to understanding their knowledge, attitudes and thoughts on Trans females in general and on those who are in prison.

I hope the research I am undertaking will offer staff, within the prison service, training in the care and management of trans females in prison. As well as that I hope that policy and attitudes will change for the better and that NOMS will look more closely into the housing of Trans females, with the view to preventing self-harm and suicides amongst trans females in prison.

Image of fellow Tracey McMahon

Tracey McMahon

This fellowship is the natural course of action to offer women and girls a chance to form brighter and positive futures..this is a way of reaching out to women who are not as fortunate as I have been.

Date joined:


My career objective is to work with released female prisoners for a brighter future in the community.

I founded the SHE project in December 2013.  It is a peer-led supported housing project which I established because of the experiences and problems faced by many women in the Criminal Justice System. The Project has 10 community-based, female-only units for up to four women per unit released from prison, where women have safe, secure accommodation of a high standard.

I aim to undertake further research projects to develop and safeguard communities for women who live on the margins of society because I believe that this will benefit not only them, but their children and the local communities in which they live. 

I have written widely on women in the Criminal Justice System and I'm an active voice inside the system on offender rehabilitation.  I have written for Criminal Law & Justice Weekly on issues surrounding female offenders and I have contributed to the popular "View From..." series (Criminal Law Blog).

I have contributed to Transforming Rehabilitation - Under the Microscope published by The Hallam Centre for Community Justice and published in December 2013 and I also edit the Tracey McMahon Blog

Image of fellow Hazel Renouf

Hazel Renouf

I had been thinking more widely about the challenges and areas for development in carrying out my role and wanted the chance to be involved in contributing towards policy and practice changes/ developments.

Date joined:


Since 2010 I have been employed at One25, a Bristol based charity that reaches out to women trapped in, or vulnerable to, street sex work, supporting them to break free and build new lives away from violence, poverty and addiction. In my role as Criminal Justice Caseworker at One25, I support women through their involvement in the Criminal Justice System, both in custody and the community. I hold responsibility for supervising Conditional Cautions and Engagement & Support Orders given to women for loitering and soliciting offences within the Bristol area. I deliver training to professionals including police officers, magistrates, probation and prison staff. I have spoken at national and international conferences about supporting street sex workers in custody and the community and the use of Engagement & Support Orders.

I am a qualified Social Worker and Practice Educator with an MSc in Social Work from the University of Bristol and a BA in Law with Politics from the University of Manchester.  I have a particular interest in relationship-based Social Work and have given lectures on this topic for the undergraduate Social Work degree course at the University of the West of England. I have experience working in Community Mental Health Teams, with trafficked women, young offenders and in residential facilities for women in mental health crisis and for young people experiencing self-harm. 

Photograph of fellow Maya Sikand

Maya Sikand

I was particularly attracted to the combination of practical and academic nature of the fellowship and was excited by the tie up with Cambridge. I chose to undertake it as I thought it would be both a change and a real challenge.

Date joined:


I am a civil liberties barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in public law as well as private law damages claims against public authorities, including prisons. I also have an appellate criminal practice that focuses on complex sentencing cases, trafficked victims and children and young people. 

Before being called to the Bar in 1997, I worked for a number of years with two NGOs providing safe housing, support and assistance to women and children fleeing domestic violence and sexual abuse. 

I am a Contributing Editor of the criminal text book Archbold Criminal Pleading, Evidence & Practice (Sweet & Maxwell); General Editor of the Blackstone's Guide to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 (OUP, 2009) and author of ASBOs: a practitioner's guide to defending anti-social behaviour orders (LAG, 2006). 

The idea for my research project grew out of a judicial review challenge I took on behalf of a pregnant mother in a prison who was refused an MBU place. They took her baby away from her at birth and placed him in foster care. She was utterly devastated. I challenged the fairness of the operation of the admissions procedure. She was finally reunited with her baby but it was a long, hard process. I am researching how fair / accessible that procedure is against the background of a low take up of MBU places / a high refusal rate. The MBU literature and research to date has not included interviews with women prisoners. 

Tamara Pattinson

I believe that my manager saw an opportunity for not only my personal development but also the benefit for women within the criminal justice system and the potential impact/awareness raising a piece of research like this could provide.

Date joined:


I am the Head of Reducing Re-offending at HMP & YOI Low Newton, where I have worked for the past 7 years. I recently completed a part time law degree, achieving First Class Honours.

I have significant interest in women within the Criminal Justice System, a fellowship with the Griffins Society has given me the opportunity to further develop this interest and improve outcomes for this group.  My main driver is a real belief and strong opinion about women in custody and the suitability of custody for women who are mentally ill. Further it is based upon direct experiences whist working within a female prison where prison has been used as a place of safety and where women have had to be sectioned from weeks after being sentenced when, ultimately, it could have been done without the need to imprison first and more quickly.

On a personal front, I love to travel and explore the great outdoors. I am a keen runner and regularly participate in organised events to raise money for charity.

Photo of fellow Gareth Hole

Gareth Hole

I have undertaken the fellowship because it has given me the freedom to formulate my own research, but also to have the input of an academic supervisor to guide. This was extremely attractive to me.

Date joined:


I have worked as a Probation Officer for National Probation Service in London since 2010.  I am passionate about my job and understanding effective rehabilitative practices.  

My Griffin’s Society Project will investigate Probation Officers’ assessments and practice with women who have perpetrated intimate partner violence against men.  My initial interest in this was prompted by my participation in a pilot project which provided support to male victims whose partners were subject to Probation for offences committed against them; I noted that many of the referrals referred to the woman as the victim of domestic abuse, rather than the perpetrator.  I wanted to explore more about why this was and the factors Probation Officers considered relevant to the perpetration of domestic violence by women.  

Ultimately the goal would be to identify any challenges faced by Probation Officers in this line of work and the identification of good working practices.

Image of fellow Kirsty Tate

Kirsty Tate

My employer understands how important the need for further awareness in the area I am researching is, and also, a Griffins Fellowship is an achievement that I think my employer is proud to be connected to.

Date joined:


I have a history of working in front line services from which my interest in working with sex workers developed, however I have no academic background as such, which meant that becoming a Griffins Fellow was a special personal achievement. I am currently an outreach worker to sex working women at ISIS women's centre in Gloucester.

Having previously worked in women's residential drug treatment services, I became aware of sex workers difficulties with disclosure of their sex working history which prompted the idea for my research, very little research exists linking disclosure and sex working, and unfortunately also little available material on possible systemic barriers or facilitators of disclosure for sex workers.

This is pertinent to me both in my previous role and my current, as sex workers already face multiple barriers to exit, and the opportunity to undertake this research allows me to uncover possible system changes that could support sex workers further to making substantial life changes. It has been a wonderful journey so far! 

Photo of Griffins Fellow, Jean O'Neill

Jean O'Neill

I feel that the topic is challenging on a number of levels, ..... this is the first time such a piece of research will take place in the context of Northern Ireland

Date joined:


I work for the Probation Board for Northern Ireland, Area Manager Band 6.  My role includes the management of the Inspire Women’s Project, Belfast and co-ordinating the roll out of the INSPIRE model throughout Northern Ireland.  I have previously worked as a Probation Officer for the Probation Board for Northern Ireland and the Merseyside Probation Service. 

I returned to Northern Ireland to take up a management role in 1992. My areas of interest over the past 23 years include working in partnership with the community and other statutory sectors in the management of Car Crime in West Belfast.  I managed and led two projects, the Turas Project in 1993 and the IMPACT Car Crime project in 2004.  Both projects were recognised as successful in reducing car crime in the area.  

Since 2004, much of my work has been dedicated to the development of services for women offenders. I have assisted the drafting of the DOJNI Strategy for the Management of Women Offenders and those vulnerable to Offending 2010-13.  I have led the establishment of the Inspire Women’s Project and developed alongside colleagues in the voluntary and community sector, the current INSPIRE Model for the Management of Women Offenders. 

This project was evaluated by London South Bank University 2010 and was positively reviewed by Dame Owers in the Review of the Northern Ireland Prison Service 2011.  It was included in the Volunteer Now NI publication on working with women in the Criminal Justice System, 2013 and the Prison Reform Trust/ Soroptimist  International publication  ‘Transporting lives- reducing women’s imprisonment’ 2014.