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‘Trips and Slips in Forensic Practice’

Welcome to

Welcome to the official home of the UKAFN, the UK's leading association of forensic healthcare specialists. Bringing together forensic practitioners from across the country, the UKAFN aims to raise awareness of the work of forensic practitioners and improve access to them.

At UKAFN we are committed to :


The United Kingdom Association of Forensic Nurses (UKAFN) was initially devised in 2004 by Jo Delaforce. The driving force behind the group was made up of three Clinical Nurse Specialists from the Havens: Jo Delaforce, Annika Stenvall and Sharon McCabe.

A steering group made up of representatives from Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCS) and Custody Nurses from around the United Kingdom was soon established to provide direction for the UKAFN. It was clear from the onset there was enthusiasm to meet the need for an association in the UK. The steering group felt it was paramount for a body of professionals not only to provide a continuum of best practise but also to raise standards and to facilitate access for learning and educational needs.

The Aims of UKAFN

The aims of UKAFN are to lay foundations for best practice countrywide and to enable the delivery of quality care to individuals, also to provide accessible resources, including a knowledge base in forensic nursing.

Jennette Arnold OBE - UKAFN Patron

Jennette Arnold After a career in nursing, senior roles with the Royal College of Nursing and working as a training and development consultant, Jennette found her natural home as a campaigner within political and public life. She was a councillor in Islington for 8 years, including a term as Deputy Mayor, and then was elected to the Greater London Authority as a London-wide Assembly Member in 2000. Since 2004 she has represented North East London and in 2008/09 served a term as Chair of the London Assembly.

Jennette is a relentless campaigner and has consistently linked her political roles to her campaigning work to bring about changes for Londoners. Through her involvement with the Metropolitan Police Authority she has successfully overseen the establishment of Community Safety Boards in her constituency. She has been an active supporter of the Justice4Jamie campaign highlighting the devastating effects of knife crime, and has supported BLUNT 1 and 2 policing initiatives to tackle this problem London-wide.

Jennette has been a constant supporter of women's rights, she is particularly involved in highlighting issues of domestic violence across all of London's communities. At the moment she is lobbying the Mayor to stand by his pledge to establish 4 Rape Crisis Centres across London.

Jennette is a Champion of young people and finds time to mentor and encourage a number of young Londoners as they carve out their own careers in a variety of sectors across the UK.

In 2009 Jennette was awarded an OBE for her services to Local Government and London. In April 2008 Jennette was appointed by the Prime Minister as a Trustee to the Board of the Museum of London. In October 2008 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of East London for her services to East London. Jennette is currently a council member of the Royal Court Theatre, Governor of Sadler's Wells Theatre Foundation and patron of the Victoria Climbie Foundation.

Meet the UKAFN team

Steering Group Members

Jennie Smith - President

Jennie Smith

I started nursing in 1990, and have had a varied career. I have worked in a busy inner city Accident and Emergency department. For five years worked in some of the biggest dance clubs in Liverpool City Centre as a Nurse and was also a Pharmaceutical rep for eleven years, selling medications in general medicine, psychiatry, HIV and latterly haematology and microbiology.

In 2008 I secured a position to set up a team of Forensic Nurses working as employees for Merseyside Police. I managed this service and the 9 Forensic Nurse Practitioners until 2011 when our service was passed to a private provider for whom I continue to work clinically on a part time basis. I am also involved in training Forensic Nurses across the country, both privately and for my forensic employer.

When I started my work in forensic nursing I found an emerging area of nursing that I am totally passionate about, and a specialty that continues to challenge and fascinate me every day. I am currently working on my MSc to enable my development in the forensic arena.

I became involved in UKAFN in 2008, subsequently becoming the National Conference Organiser and Vice President. I was honoured to be elected as President in May 2013, and aim to continue the positive work that UKAFN has done in the 9 years since it began.

As for me I have a wonderful partner, live by the sea and am able to enjoy wonderful sunsets throughout the summer and sometimes winter evenings. I love to travel, have a passion for shoes (some would say a problem) and fashion and am an avid rugby union fan.

Sue Fewkes - Vice President

Sue Fewkes

My name is Sue Fewkes and I have been on the committee since 2004 for the inaugural meeting in London. I originally trained as a Enrolled Nurse at Kings’ College Hospital in London, in 1979 working mainly in ITU. I eventually completed the conversion course to become an RGN in 1997, working in surgery in a private hospital. In 2001 I joined Kent Police as a Forensic Nurse Practitioner, I felt the need for a new challenge, boy did I get one! I found the role very challenging and loved the unpredictability. Whilst in this role I have been an active member of UKAFN and currently sit as Vice President and Secretary, I also sit on the FFLM Scientific Sub Committee meeting twice a year working on the guidelines for the collection of forensic samples for complainants and suspects. This is a MDT including forensic scientists, kit providers, FNE,FME and occasionally Police.

I have recently moved to the ‘other side’ and I am now working as Clinical Coordinator for Kents Sexual Assault Referral Centre, I plan to continue to do bank work as a FNP. I am married with two children and in the spare time I have I spend swimming, nordik walking, horse riding and volunteer for Bradbourne Riding for the Disabled. I love skiing and walking in the Lake District and never say no to a bit of sunshine!

Baroness Stern - Honourable Member

Baroness Stern

Vivien Stern is Senior Research Fellow at the International Centre for Prison Studies (ICPS). She is also Honorary President of Penal Reform International (PRI), a non-governmental organisation promoting penal reform throughout the world which she founded with others in 1989. From 2003 to 2009 she was the Convenor of the Scottish Consortium on Crime and Criminal Justice; she has been a Crossbench Peer since 1999 and was a member of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights from 2004 to 2008. From 1999 to 2003 she was a member of the House of Lords European Select Committee. In 2010 she became a member of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments. She is a member of the Advisory Council of the International Legal Foundation in New York, and a member of the Advisory Council of the Legal Policy Research Centre in Kazakhstan. In September 2009 she was appointed by the UK Government to lead a review of how rape complaints are handled from when a rape is first disclosed until the court reaches a verdict and the Review was published in March 2010.

Her publications include Bricks of Shame: Britain's Prisons (1987), A Sin Against the Future: Imprisonment in the World (1998), Alternatives to Prison in Developing Countries (1999), Developing Alternatives to Prison in East and Central Europe and Central Asia (2002) and Sentenced to Die? The problem of TB in prisons in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (editor) (1999). Her latest book, Creating Criminals: People and Prisons in a Market Society, was published by Zed Books in May 2006 and in July 2010 was published in Spanish by Ad Hoc Publishers.

She has Honorary degrees from Bristol, Oxford Brookes, Stirling and Edinburgh Universities and is an Honorary Fellow of the London School of Economics.

Stephen McKean - Treasurer

Steve McKean

Steve started his career as a cadet nurse at Sunderland Royal Infirmary and started training as a State Enrolled Nurse. He left training and joined Northumbria Ambulance Service and was fortunate to have had a unique and varied career as a paramedic that spanned 28 years.

Qualifying as IHCD instructor and Advanced Driving instructor, Steve facilitated on a variety of courses to ambulance students in the UK and abroad. He was chosen to be part of the first air ambulance service crews in the North East of England, developing airmanship and aero medical skills.

Steve has delivered training in UK Ambulance training centres as well as Dublin Fire and Ambulance Service, Ireland. As part of a team he was also seconded to the Kuwaiti Health Ministry to advise and assist in rebuilding the Emergency Medical Services (EMS), in Kuwait just after the first Gulf war.

Attached to Al - Furat Petroleum Company, Syria, Steve was responsible for providing emergency response and incident management in the desert oil fields and base camps. This was very quickly followed by a detachment to the Joint Oil Companies Consortium Clinic Saana, Yemen, this secondment ended early due to the security situation at the time.

A second attachment to Al - Furat Petroleum Company, Syria as Health Section head, he managed five base camp clinics, field ambulance services, emergency response training, and health audits on rigs and production facilities, also introducing an Occupational Health Services department for over two thousand workers. During international secondments Steve studied for a Bachelor of Health Sciences in pre hospital emergency care, Master of Health Service Management and can speak basic Arabic.

Since 2005 Steve has working in primary care as an Emergency Care Practitioner in North Tyneside and County Durham. Durham Constabulary and one of the former PCT’s worked on a pilot scheme using ECP’s in the custody suites in the county. The pilot scheme was extended county wide and into a contract to provide ECP services and Steve was appointed as the Clinical Lead. In 2011 CDDFT successfully tendered for the Durham Constabulary Total Healthcare contract. The trust now supplies services in Crime and Custody, SARC, Occupational Health, Medical devices, First Aid equipment and Clinical waste management.

Steve retired from NHS service at the end of April 2012 and enjoys spending time with this wife and family, being a grandfather and attempting DIY. He also enjoys riding his motorcycle, touring Europe with his wife, and working on bank contract as a custody care practitioner. He is looking to have a career change and work full time in the custody/forensic field.

Margaret Bannerman (formally Cunnion) MSc BSc (Hons) RN Dip (HE) Cert (Med) Ed - Education Officer

Margaret BannermanMarg Bannerman (formerly Cunnion) has a nursing background in Gynaecology and Genitourinary Medicine and has been working in academia; initially as a Researcher and then Senior Lecturer in Sexual Health for the past 10 years.'

Marg currently sits on the Department of Health (DH) Consultant Nurses Group and is Education Officer for both the United Kingdom Association of Forensic Nurses (UKAFN) and Genitourinary Nurses Association (GUNA). Marg has been involved in a number of national projects such as: the RCN Sexual Health Competencies (RCN, 2004 & 2009), compiling the GUNA Education and Training Database and she was a member of the DH Education and Training Group who developed the Recommended Quality Standards for Sexual Health Training (DH 2005). Marg's area of research was identifying the sexual Health Needs of Young People in South Staffordshire (HPA 2003).

Marg was co-author of 'Improving Sexual Health Advice' (Wakely, Cunnion and Chambers, 2003) and was also a contributing author to Sexual Health (Essential Clinical Skills for Nurses) Edited by Kathy French (2009).

Marg's current area of interest is developing national standards in SH education and training within specific professions in order to develop qualifications within the specialties and her research interests include Negotiated Learning.

Dee Inott - Steering Group Member

Dee Inott

Dee’s Nursing career spans over 28 years.

She qualified as a Registered General Nurse, working as a ward nurse and Manager in Women’s Health, Gynaecology, Sexual Health and Contraceptive services in Lancashire, West Midlands and London.

She also served with HM Forces in The Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps and served in Aldershot, Northern Ireland between 1985 ' 1988.

She served during the first Gulf conflict in 1990 with 32 Field Hospital in Saudi Arabia.

During her career Dee also worked at HMP Pentonville in London as a Prison Healthcare Nurse.

The wide range of management and clinical experience has led Dee to the Lancashire SAFE Centre where she worked as a Crisis worker till taking up the Post in February 2008 as the Forensic Nurse examiner.

Dee sees and examines post pubertal, adult male & female victims of sexual assault rape & domestic violence, offering a complete holistic service to the victims she sees.

She undertakes writing ‘Factual Statements’ for Court if the case proceeds and has been called to Court as a witness and given Evidence in a case she examined. Her role includes assisting in the into the training of Junior to Senior police officers at the Lancashire Constabulary HQ around the function & role of the Lancashire SAFE Centre.

Post Registration training has included a BSc (HONS) Nurse practitioner Degree, PG Cert in Advanced Health Care Practice, course in Forensic Medicine Examination for Rape & Sexual Assault, Certificate in Counselling and she is an Independent Medical Prescriber.

Dee received an award and was highly commended at the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Quality Awards 2010 in the Special Governors category for the development of the role of the FNE at The Lancashire SAFE Centre.

Dee received a Divisional Commanders Commendation for Engagement & multiagency working practice with the Aquamarine Team Blackpool from Lancashire Constabulary June 2010.

Martha Tyson - Steering Group Member

Martha Tyson

I am the clinical coordinator for the Essex SARC (Oakwood Place).

As well as the day to day running of the SARC I also provide  Forensic Examinations of clients and after care and refer clients to other agencies for follow up. I am also working towards establishing links with partner agencies to ensure our clients receive the full range of care they require.

Ruth Henry - Steering Group Member

Ruth Henry

In a previous life, Ruth began her career training as a nurse RGN working in general nursing, then specialised in psychiatric nursing , RMN , followed by community nursing . She went on to work in HIV prevention within the NHS and managing HIV projects in the voluntary sector. She has developed a wide experience in managing innovative projects and services in the field of sexuality, equalities , sexual health and delivering training to statutory agencies including police, health boards, Scottish Govt. and voluntary agencies. She has worked for organisations such as Stonewall, Equality and Human Rights Commission, Family Planning Association and Communities Scotland. She is currently the manager of Archway, Scotland's only SARC based in Glasgow.

Sian Lewis - Steering Group Member

Sian Lewis

I qualified as A registered General nurse in 1988 and worked in acute medicine for 15 years working as a senior nurse on an acute admissions Ward when I left the NHS. I then spent 3 years working in the commercial sector where I was a wound care representative for a well known wound care company. During this time I also worked as a bank nurse at the local general hospital for one shift a week , covering all departments.

In 2006 I became a forensic nurse covering the South Wales Police Force. I was made Lead Forensic Nurse Practitioner for South Wales in 2009.

David Tremlett - Steering Group Member

David Tremlett

Dave spent the first two years of his nursing career working in both elderly medicine and the community setting in Portsmouth, Hampshire. He has since dedicated his nursing career working solely in Police Custody Suites within Hampshire Constabulary. He has worked in this role for ten years in a senior / lead capacity under both the NHS and Private healthcare providers. He has a keen interest in Health Promotion and setting up pathways of care with other health services to ultimately benefit the patients seen in Police Custody.

Julie Tekin - Steering Group Member

I am at present employed as a senior forensic nurse, working at the Northumbria SARC based in Newcastle. I have been in this present post for thirteen months. We work as a multidisciplinary team, including counsellors and independent sexual violence advisors (ISVA’S). We provide forensic medical examinations, for both women and men aged over 16 years, who have been the victim of sexual violence.

I have been a qualified nurse for many (too many) years and have had a varied career. I started working on a gynaecological ward after qualifying. I then moved to London to undertake a course in burns and plastic surgery nursing. I stayed in London following the course working on a regional burns unit. I moved back to Newcastle six years later and have remained here ever since. My career included working in a regional neuro trauma unit for many years.

Following the birth of my first child, I pursued a career in community nursing and remained there as a district nursing sister until 2010. I was then seconded to the palliative care team as a Macmillan clinical nurse specialist. I worked in the team full time as a community CNS until 2013.

I then had a very diverse change in career and moved into forensic nursing and my present role. This has been a very challenging year, but has also been very rewarding and exciting. I have become involved in not only highlighting the SARC services to fellow professionals but also been very proactive in approaching schools and colleges, to teach their pupils about consent and capacity to consent. This has been well evaluated and the plans for the future are to role it out to a wider audience including universities.

As for me! I have two grown up children, one at university and one still at home. I enjoy travelling and socialising. I have a dog, who is the perfect solution to distressing after a day at work!!

Dr Jenny Holmes - Advisor

Dr Jenny Holmes

Dr Jenny Holmes MFFLM joined UKAFNs steering group as a nurse liaison Officer on behalf of the FFLM. She is a member of the FFLM Academic Committee

A Lead FME in Custody and Senior FME in Sexual Offence Medicine in the North West of England she works in a mixed FME/Custody Nurse provision for an outsourced provider

She teaches and trains doctors, nurses and Police Officers in forensic medicine