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Cunninghame House, Irvine, KA12 8EE

Adverse Childhood Experiences: Adversity is Not Destiny

Community Justice Ayrshire are hosting their annual conference on Friday 15 March 2019.  This event has been well received with over 200 expressions of interest for 120 delegate places.  This is a pan-Ayrshire multi-disciplinary conference.  We have an excellent variety of expert speakers lined up – their biographies are detailed below for information.

You can follow live tweets from the event on our twitter account @CJAyrshire #AdversityIsNotDestiny

Ben Thurman

Ben Thurman works for the Carnegie UK Trust, an organisation that seeks to improve the lives and wellbeing of people in the UK and Ireland through policy and practice innovation. Since joining the Trust, Ben has worked on a number of practice and research projects exploring the importance of kindness to individual and community wellbeing. He is currently involved in co-ordinating a Kindness Innovation Network of practitioners who are committed to encouraging kindness in organisations and communities; and in a partnership with North Ayrshire Council, which is exploring the practical implications of kindness as a value in local government and service delivery.


Lynne McNiven

Lynne McNiven has worked in Public Health in both England and Scotland for the last 20 years. She has specialised in Children and Young People’s Public Health as a Consultant in Public Health for nine years and also holds the position of Child Health Commissioner and Interim Director of Public Health (Joint) in NHS Ayrshire & Arran.

Lynne is passionate about improving children and young people’s health, social outcomes and reducing health inequalities.  Working across the whole system is central to achieving this.


Chief Superintendent Paul Main

Paul Main has been the Local Police Commander for Ayrshire Division since January 2017 having started his career in Ayrshire in 1989.

Ayrshire Police Division works with 3 Local Authorities (East, North and South Ayrshire) to deliver services to approximately 370,000 people in an area covering over 1,300 square miles.

Having seen the Resilience Documentary in 2017, Paul announced the ambition to make the 850 officers and staff of Ayrshire Division ‘trauma informed’ in February 2018. The Division achieved its first phase of being trauma informed in November 2018.

In previous roles he has enjoyed secondments with partners in the Scottish Executive Justice Department (2001), New Zealand Police (2002) and Lord Carloway’s team which reviewed criminal procedures in Scotland (2010).

A native of Glasgow he lives in the city with his wife and 2 children.


Iain Smith

Iain specialises in Criminal Law, undertaking summary and solemn work in Livingston Sheriff and Justice of the Peace Courts as well as other courts across Scotland. He has been involved in a number of high profile High Court Trials. He also acts as a legal representative for a number of well-known sports stars. He fights hard to protect people’s rights and passionately defends his clients. His career as a solicitor started in 1993 and 5 years later he formed Keegan Smith with Jim Keegan QC.

Iain is actively involved in the creating a fairer criminal justice system and is the leading trauma informed lawyer in Scotland. He is a core group member of West Lothian Adverse Childhood Experiences Hub and a Trustee of the charity Aid & Abet, who try to assist people get out of the cycle of offending. Iain is also boldly asking all judges in Scotland to treat those appearing before the court with respect & dignity.


Jo Berry

Jo Berry is an inspiring speaker who works to resolve conflict around the world. Sixteen years after her father was killed by an IRA bomb, Jo first met with the man responsible, Pat Magee. This initial three-hour meeting led to their speaking on over three hundred occasions, on a shared platform, to bring a message of understanding and peace. Their unusual relationship has been told in the BBC documentary “Facing the Enemy”, was featured in the film “Beyond Right and Wrong”, and inspired “The Bomb”, a play by Kevin Dyer.

The founder of Building Bridges for Peace, Jo advocates that empathy is the biggest weapon we have to end conflict. With political, religious and racial divides deepening as global and local events unfold, her words offer a message of hope and encourage us all to see the humanity in others.

Jo is frequently invited to address international conferences and seminars on themes of humanitarian aid, conflict resolution and human rights. She has worked in areas of conflict including Lebanon, Mexico and Rwanda, Ireland, Palestine and Israel as well as throughout the U.K. She has spoken in venues throughout this country and joined panels and discussions forums on radio and TV.

Over the last few years Jo has developed workshops in schools and with youth groups on topics of conflict transformation, storytelling, becoming positive changemakers, and challenging violent extremism. She is a TEDx speaker and a Visiting Fellow with the University of Nottingham (Research Primary Area in Rights and Justice).  Jo is also trained as a Restorative Justice facilitator and is an advocate for RJ around the country.

Currently Jo is busy writing a book.


Judge Victoria Pratt

Judge Victoria Pratt has gained national and international acclaim for her commitment to reforming the criminal justice system. During her tenure as the Chief Judge in Newark Municipal Court in Newark, New Jersey, she spent years gaining a deep understanding of how justice could be delivered to court participants in a manner that increased their trust in the legal system and changed their behaviour. While presiding over Newark Community Solutions, the Community Court Program, she used creative problem solving to provide alternatives to jail to low-level offenders. These alternatives included community service, individual and group counselling sessions, and her signature assignment of introspective essays. Called a pioneer in procedural justice, her respectful approach, and treating individuals with dignity has had a positive effect on court participants’ court experience, how the community viewed the court and how court players viewed their roles.

Now, a Professor at Rutgers Law School in Newark, New Jersey, she teaches Problem Solving Justice and Restorative Justice. She also continues to champion criminal justice reform through her consulting firm Pratt Lucien Consultants, LLC, by sharing her skills and approach with others. As well as speaking to leaders of institutions and organisations about how to heighten and restore respect into their day-to-day operations so that their mission can be better achieved.

“An idea to transform criminal justice: caring. Hope all courts can learn from this brilliant judge.” — Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin

“Using Dignity and Respect to Restore Humanity to Justice” – Judge Victoria Pratt


Jennie Young

Jennie Young works with NHS Forth Valley, Psychological Therapies Service, Trauma Clinic and with NHS Education for Scotland (NES). Within NHS Forth Valley, Jennie provides trauma focussed treatment, education, training, supervision and consultations across sectors. She has recently joined NHS Education for Scotland as Principle Educator for Trauma and has a core role in the implementation of the Transforming Psychological Trauma Knowledge and Skills Framework and training plan.

She recently completed a long term association with the University of Stirling Faculty of Health Science and Sport in developing the UK’s first undergraduate nursing programme with a core awareness and understanding of the impact of trauma and adversity on health and wellbeing across the lifespan. In 2018 she was winner of Educator of the Year award from Student Nursing Times.


Dr Laura Mitchell

Dr Laura Mitchell is a Principal Clinical Psychologist and since January 2018 she has been working across the Addiction services within NHS Ayrshire & Arran.  This is a new post for the board and Laura has been working to develop an Addictions Psychological Therapies Service.  She provides psychological therapy, supervision, consultation and training.  Given the passion for delivering trauma informed services across Ayrshire and the relevance to working within an addictions setting, Laura has found that she has made connections across the region to support our increased awareness of trauma and delivery of trauma-informed care.  Leading on from this she has recently taken up a secondment with NHS Education for Scotland as the Transforming Psychological Trauma Implementation Co-ordinator for Ayrshire.