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Professor Graham Towl


Professor in the Department of Psychology
Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing


Graham Towl is Professor of Psychology at Durham University (DU) and visiting clinical professor at Newcastle University. His current primary research area is mental health, particularly prisoner suicide. He was an expert member of the Ministerial Independent Advisory Panel on deaths in state custody including hospitals and prisons. Uniquely he is the recipient of the British Psychological Society Awards for Distinguished Contributions to both Professional Practice and Forensic Academic Knowledge. He is included in A&C Black's Who's Who for exceptional contributions in the field of equality and diversity. In 2003, he was acknowledged in a national peer survey as the most influential forensic psychologist in the UK. He has practical experience of working in hospitals and prisons. As a former Senior Civil Servant, he has thorough understanding of the machinery of government. His most recent post at the Ministry of Justice was as Chief Psychologist, where he enjoyed international reputation for innovations in service delivery. He devised and established a national infrastructure for more effective delivery of psychological services across prisons and probation services in England and Wales. He has maintained his research whilst undertaking the role of pro-vice-chancellor on DU's Executive Committee. He has overseen a number of innovative change-management programmes, e.g. giving DU national presence on provision of support services for university students who have experienced sexual violence.

Research interests

  • Addressing sexual violence at universities
  • Hate crimes and hate incidents
  • Mental health
  • Prisoner suicide


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Supervision students