AIM has four core associates;

Carol Carson who is Project Manager;


Carol Carson 

Carol Carson is an independent trainer and consultant and has over 30 years’ experience of working in education, residential and field social work setting, and in the management and delivery of children’s social care services, as a Head of Service. She has also specialised in the field of harmful sexual behaviours (HSB) for the last 20 years and is currently offering management services to the AIM Project.

Carol is a published author in this subject having written the AIM Assessment and Intervention model for children under 12 years old (2014) and the AIM guidelines for Education staff (2017). She has also written the AIM guidelines for foster care and residential settings and a chapter in “Children and Young People who sexually abuse others – current developments and practice responses” (2006) edited by Marcus Erooga and Helen Masson.

Vince Mercer is is Restorative Justice/Restorative Practice Lead;

Vince Mercer 

Vince Mercer is responsible for developing restorative approaches within the AIM Project.

Vince’s background is in youth justice, having spent over twenty years as a group worker, juvenile justice worker and Youth Justice Team Manager.

Since 1999 he has been actively involved in the development and promotion of restorative approaches to youth crime. He established and ran the Greater Manchester Family Group Meetings Project for over 5 years before joining AIM with the specific remit to explore and develop the potential for an integrated approach which included both the offender and victim perspective. He has published work in this field, addressed international and national conferences as well training extensively with the UK and abroad. Vince is a HCPC Registered Social Work Practitioner.


Marcella Leonard  

Marcella is  responsible for  Management support and  Project Development.     

Marcella Leonard (BSc (Hons), MSc, CQSW, PTA, AASW, PG DipATSO, ASW, ASI) is Director of Leonard Consultancy and qualified as a social worker in 1989. Marcella has specialised in assessment and treatment in the fields of sexuality, sexual deviancy and sexual trauma. She began her career as a social worker within mental health and psychosexual services, Marcella then assisted in the development of a regional service Programme for Prevention of Sexual Abuse where she held the post of Senior Social Worker / Team Coordinator and Clinical Supervisor. This regional programme provided risk assessments of those convicted of or had allegations of sexual offending as well as undertaking ability to protect assessments. Marcella overseen the assessment and treatment aspects of the programme as well as providing training and consultations to relevant professional bodies.

She then moved into independent social work which has taken her to work with sexual offending assessment and treatment services in New Zealand as Clinical Team Leader and providing training with child protection agencies in Australia.

She has two areas of specific interest, one, in developing the understanding of those working within criminal justice and risk management in utilising the knowledge of normal sexual development to understand sexual deviancy.

Marcella is qualified in sexual and violent risk assessments of children, adolescents, adults, persons with learning disability. She is a trainer in Stable and Acute 2007, ARMIDILO, AIM2 and Ability to Protect Assessments. Marcella is a certified supervisor with the Community Sex Offender Group Work Programme and has held position of Treatment Manager in both N.Ireland and New Zealand.

The other area of specific interest is in as her role as a psychosexual therapist to assist victims of sexual trauma to regain a healthy sexual life without re-experiencing trauma. Marcella continues to hold a practice base working with victims of trauma and is currently providing supervision to therapists developing their work with victims of online sexual exploitation.

As Director of Leonard Consultancy, Marcella has worked in New Zealand, Abu Dhabi, Australia, Canada, and Gibraltar as well as throughout UK and Ireland in delivering specialist training, consultancy and programme development. Marcella worked alongside the lead Trainers for ARMS throughout the England and Welsh Police Forces in assisting police in their assessment of sexual risk. She was coordinator of Public Protection Arrangements in N.Ireland (PPANI) on risk management of sexual and violent offenders. She provides training for a range of agencies including NSPCC, Education, Police, Social Services, PAMS, and Marcella is currently the Chair of the N.Ireland Association of Social Workers and has developed training packages for child protection social workers to undertake risk assessments to assist in the decision making at case conferences.


  • “The Psychiatric Social Worker Within the Psychosexual Service “Social Work in Mental Health- Proceedings of the second Northern Ireland conference September 1993. DHSS and SSI.
  • “A Statistical Overview of the Client Group attending the Programme for Prevention Of Sexual Abuse Between October 1994 and October 1997.” Msc Advanced Social Work Dissertation. QUB.
  • “ Sex Offenders , convicted and alleged : the challenge for social work practice” for inclusion in Advanced Social Work Practice Literature in September 2000 QUB,CCETSW
  • ‘Changing Residential Child Care: A Systems Approach to Consultation, Training and Development’ Child Care In Practice, Vol 10, Number 4, October 2004
  • Research paper for Risky Children Group N.I. June 06
  • ‘ Impact on staff when allegations of child abuse are made and the interim period of suspension’ Research paper for Dept. Of Education N.I. 2006
  • ‘I did what I was directed to do but he didn’t touch me’: The impact of being a victim of internet offending.’ Journal Of Sexual Aggression July 2010 Vol16, No.2 pp 249 -256
  • Safer Lives Project Manual for NIPS and PBNI alongside Val Owens 2007-2008

In May 2019 Marcello Leonard, AIM Core Associate, was awarded the title of UK child Protection Trainer of the Year  by the NSPCC and the Association of Child Protection Professionals. Congratulations to Marcello!!

Marcello being presented with the  award by ACoPP and NSPCC


Christina Adamson     Training and Admin Co-ordinator;

Christine joined the Project as administrator in December 2010. She deals with sales of our publications, training invoices and since 2018 is also responsible for training enquiries and training co-ordination. Christina is the first port of call for contacting the Project.


In addition AIM uses a number of associates to deliver accredited training courses on our behalf; they include;

Jennifer Allotey BSc, BA, M


Jennifer is a HCPC registered social worker who has worked in the child protection arena since 2002.  Jennifer qualified with an MSc Forensic Psychology in 2016.

Between 2012 and 2018 Jennifer was employed by NSPCC, providing consultation, assessment and therapeutic intervention for children and young people who have displayed harmful sexual behaviour. Jennifer was both a social worker and team manager during her time at NSPCC and she was also significantly involved in national development and training as part of the harmful sexual behaviour service.

Jennifer also has significant experience working with adults that have sexually harmed. She delivered the probation sex offender treatment programme for a number of years and has been employed by The Lucy Faithfull Foundation since 2011, delivering  a psychoeducation programme to men who have perpetrated online sexual offences.

Jennifer is currently employed by the NHS working on a Forensic CAMHS team. She also undertakes independent consultation and assessment work. Jennifer has been an AIM Associate since 2017.

Joan Cherry

Joan Cherry BSS, CQSW, M.Phil in Social Work Research

Joan Cherry is an AIM Associate Trainer. She is a qualified social worker (Trinity Collage, Dublin) and family therapist (Institute of Family Therapy, London) and for over twenty years has worked in the statutory and voluntary sector in both the UK and Ireland. She is a founder and, for seventeen years, was the Director of the Northside Inter-Agency Project (NIAP), a community-based assessment and treatment programme for young people who sexually harm and their families in Dublin, Ireland. She has wide experience in the field of sexual abuse, providing assessments and therapeutic work to young people and their families and offering training and consultation to professionals and organisations. She has presented at conferences both nationally and internationally. She is the author and co-author of several research studies, journal articles and book chapters.


Cherry, J. “It Just Happened”: Challenging Denial and Cognitive Distortion with Adolescents who Sexually Offend.  Irish Social Worker, Autumn/Winter 2000, Vol.18 No 2-4

Cherry, J. “Working with Adolescents who Sexually Offend.  The Experience of a North Dublin Based Project”.  Eisteach, Irish Association for Counselling and Therapy, Winter 2000

 Cherry, J. O’Shea D. (2006), ‘Therapeutic work with families of young people who sexually abuse” in M. Erooga, H. Masson (Eds), Children and Young people who Sexually Abuse Others.  Current developments and practice responses. Routledge, London and New York

Duane, Y., Carr, A., Cherry, J., O’Shea, D., McGrath, K. (2002) Experiences of Parents Attending a Programme for Families of Adolescent Child Sexual Abuse Perpetrators in Ireland. Child Care in Practise, Vol.8, pp46-57, No.1, 2002

 Duane, Y., Carr, A., Cherry, J., O’Shea, D., McGrath, K. (2003) A qualitative exploration of the impact of intra familial sexual abuse by an adolescent on family functioning. Child Abuse Review Vol. 12: 5–24, 2003

O’Halloran, M., Carr, A., O’Reilly, G., Sheerin, D., Cherry, J., Turner, R., Beckett, R., & Brown, S.  (2002). Psychological profiles of sexually abusive adolescents in Ireland. Child Abuse and Neglect, 26, 349-370

O’Reilly, G., Sheridan, A., Carr, A., Cherry, J., Donohue, E., McGrath, K. Phelan, S., Tallon, M. & O’Reilly, K. (1998). A descriptive study of adolescent sexual offenders in an Irish community-based treatment programme. The Irish Journal of Psychology, 19, 1, 152-167

Lindsey Dickinson, Independent Social Worker and Trainer, BA (hons) SW, PQ1, HCPC registered

Lindsey qualified at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1992. Since moving to England in 1993, she has worked for Dorset County Council and Bournemouth Borough Council, initially in a long term child care field work team and subsequently as a senior practitioner on a specialist team, working with children and young people who sexually harm, as well as undertaking specialist family risk assessments, where the primary cause for concern related to issues of sexual abuse. Within this role she also undertook work relating to personal safety skills.

In 2000 Lindsey began working at the NSPCC in Dorset, initially on a three year basis to develop the service in respect of working with young people who sexually harm, and then on a permanent basis, to continue working with children and their families where sexually harmful behaviour was the concern. Whilst in this role she also undertook work with adults who sexually harmed as well as work with their partners. She also undertook independent family risk assessments, where the cause for concern may have related to any form of child abuse.

In 2002 she obtained her PQ Level 1 from the University of Birmingham. In her role she was a consultant from 2003 – 2007 to a residential unit for young males who displayed sexually harmful behaviour. She has facilitated training and consultation with local authorities, and taken the lead in developmental aspects of the service within the team. From 2002 – 2004 she was also acting manager on the team on a part time basis. She remained with the NSPCC for a period of 12 years, until December 2011 at which time, due to restructuring within the organisation, the team was closed. Lindsey co-founded D G Etali Ltd, in January 2012, where she is currently director and specialist social worker and independent trainer.

Jane Lloyd Griffiths – Independent Consultant, Trainer and AIM Associate.- CSS, CQSW,(Care Council Registered) BSc Psychology (Hons), MA Clinical Counselling (BACP Registered)

Jane is a trained Social Worker who took early retirement from the National Probation Service- NOMS in 2010, after almost twenty two years of service within the Probation arena where she worked as a Field Officer , Group Worker, Senior Probation Officer and prior to taking early retirement Probation Area Manager for North West Wales. She was seconded out of Probation between 1997-1999 to manage and deliver the services of Project Dyfodol delivering counselling services to adults who had been, or where still in the Criminal Justice System, who had experienced some form of trauma , mainly sexual abuse. Due to lack of continuing funding for the project, she returned to Probation in 1999.

Between 2012 and 2014 Jane worked in an independent capacity as the Gwynedd and Ynys Mon Youth Justice Service Partnership and Prevention Manager. Since 2014 Jane has worked as an Independent Harmful Sexual Behavior Consultant and Trainer linked to both YJS Gwynedd and Ynys Mon Youth Justice Service and Gwynedd Social Services. She has experience of direct work with children and young people who display sexually problematic/harmful behaviors, and in supporting staff who work with these children and young people .

She recently completed an MA in Clinical Counselling Person Centered approach counselling adults, specializing mainly in sexual abuse trauma, delivering counselling for RASAC – Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Agency. She is presently in the process of establishing her own private counselling practice focusing upon developing Nature as Co therapist and the use of Equines in Therapy as part of her practice.

Since May 2014 and ongoing, Jane has also been part of the Practitioner group linked to the recently launched NSPCC HSB National Framework Document. More recently in 2015 Jane became an AIM Associate delivering AIM2 and AIM Basic Awareness training mainly within Wales and the borders.

Jacinta Guilhermino, Independent Social Worker and Trainer, BA (hons) SW, HCPC registered

Jacinta qualified at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1994. Since moving to England in 1995 she has worked for Dorset County Council, Bournemouth Borough Council and Poole Children and Families Services. She initially worked as a social worker on an adult mental health team, before moving to work on a child care assessment team, initially in Bournemouth and then in Poole.The primary focus of her work was undertaking Joint Investigations (now Best Evidence Interviews) with the Police, when allegations of child abuse were made. Whilst working in Poole she was seconded for an 18 month period into Policy, focussing specifically on policies regarding ethnicity and diversity matters. Within this role she facilitated training for the Borough in relation to child protection and diversity. In 2000 she became an accredited practice teacher.

In 2002 she began working at the NSPCC in Dorset, working with adults who sexually harm, as well as undertaking work with their partners. She has been accredited by the Home Office to facilitate the Thames Valley Sex Offender Treatment Programme, a group work programme for men who have committed sexually abusive acts against children and adults. Within this she has also been accredited to run the Internet Offender Programme and she has also run the Partner Programme. She is an accredited treatment manager, and has been involved in supervising other colleagues running the programme. She is accredited to undertake and compile SARN reports to a ‘Gold’ standard. She has facilitated training and consultation with local agencies and has been instrumental in developing various aspects within the team. Within her role she also undertook work with young people who sexually harm.Within her role at the NSPCC she also undertook independent family risk assessments, focussing on all aspects of child abuse. Within this role she also acted as a Children’s Guardian on the Channel Islands for a period of two years. She remained with the NSPCC for nine years, until the team closure in December 2011, due to organisational restructuring. Jacinta co-founded D G Etali Ltd, in January 2012, where she is currently director and specialist social worker and independent trainer


Karen Martin

Karen has a BSc in Psychology and a Post Graduate Certificate in the Assessment and Treatment of Sex Offenders. She is currently a registered MSc student at Coventry University studying Forensic Psychology and Crime and her dissertation is focussing on practitioner experience of supervision when working with HSB.

Karen has worked in Youth Justice for 15 years and has developed the Harmful Sexual behaviour Service in Suffolk and currently manages the Service working closely with Children and Young People’s and Youth Justice Services. She has previous experience of working with Harmful Sexual Behaviour in both residential settings and in the community as well as working with adult sexual offenders in a custodial setting. She has 18 years’ experience in the field of HSB and has an interest in the supervision of HSB practice.

Karen joined AIM as an Associate in October 2019 and leads on the delivery of HSB for Supervisors training as well as delivering training in the AIM3 model of assessment. She also undertakes independent consultancy and assessments


Christine McCarlie      GetAttachment-4.aspx

Christine has been a social worker for over 20 years. She previously established and managed the Halt Project, a community resource in Glasgow for children and young people with problem sexual behaviours.She now works as an independent Social Worker in this field offering a range of services including consultation, training and direct work to local authorities and voluntary organisations. She is also a consultant to a number of specialist projects in Scotland providing services for children and young people with problematic sexual behaviours. She has worked intensively with one authority in particular helping to develop a multi agency service for children and young people with problem sexual behaviours. This has involved extensive training and the production of a risk management protocol which is currently being used by several local authorities.She is an associate trainer for Children 1st and the Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care as well as being an associate trainer for AIM.She co-authored the Chapter  “The Extra Dimension: developing a risk management framework “ in Children and young People who sexually abuse: New theory, research and practice developments” Ed Martin C. Calder (2005).

Gareth Mc Gibbon is a Northern Ireland registered social worker with over 20 years’ experience in the fields of sexual abuse, family violence and child protection. Formerly an Area Manager with the Probation Board for Northern Ireland (PBNI) he held operational responsibility for the management and delivery of all sexual abuse interventions delivered by PBNI.
As a Chair of the Public Protection Arrangements of Northern Ireland he was also responsible for the assessment and coordinated risk management of sexual and domestic violence offenders both in custody and the community.

Between 2015 and 2017 as an invited international consultant to New Zealand he conducted a revision of the assessment and intervention practices of the primary provider of sexual abuse services to the Department of Corrections and Ministry of Social Development in the South Island.Gareth has undertaken research on the effectiveness of interventions with adults who have offended on-line and with young adultswho have engaged in harmful sexual behaviours. He has also designed strength based systemic programmes of interventions for adults who sexually abuse and programmes of support for carer’s of children at risk from sexual or domestic abuse.

Gareth is the co-author of the CASP (Capacity & Ability to Supervise and Protect) a structured professional judgement framework for practitioners completing an assessment of a proposed carer’s capacity and ability to supervise and protect a child at risk of sexual or domestic violence.

Gareth works as an Independent Consultant. His experience in public protection, safeguarding, assessments and therapeutic programmes of intervention within both the criminal justice and child protection arenas is employed locally, nationally and internationally.  Gareth has been an associate of the AIM Project since 2018