Debbie studied psychology at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, achieving an upper second class honours degree in 2006. Furthering her interest in forensic psychology Debbie studied a masters in clinical forensic psychology at the Instutute of Psychiatry, Kings College London. She graduated with merit in January 2009.
During her early career Debbie worked in addiction services with male and female clients; this included custodial and community based services. During her Msc she also held an assistant psychologist post at South London and Maudsley's Riverhouse medium secure unit working with male and female patients. Since 2012, Debbie has been employed by the Scottish Prison Service, achieving her chartered and registered status in March 2019. These posts have ensured that Debbie has a wide range of experience with different forensic populations.
Debbie has a wealth of experience in assessment and interventions for general violence. She is a national trainer for the Self Change Programme and assisted the development of the programme to reach accreditation standards. She also has experience of developing high intensity programmes targeting sexual offending and intimate partner violence; and development of a brief intervention for individuals serving short sentences. Working across different prisons also provided significant experience in psychological assessment in areas including general, sexual and intimate partner violence, infanticide, cognitive functioning and personality.
Debbie has a keen interest in the management of individuals who present a high risk of general and sexual violence. In 2020 this prompted a move to the Risk Management Authority where Debbie is now the Head of Order for Lifelong Restriction.