Mentor’s two Directors, Dr Joe Sullivan and Dr Valerie Sheehan, lead a highly experienced team of specialists.


Dr Joe Sullivan

Dr. Joe O'Sullivan B&W 2Dr Sullivan is a Registered Forensic Psychologist (Health and Care Professions Council, registration number PYL25580: Thomas Joseph Sullivan).  He holds a PhD in Forensic Psychology, a Masters Degree in Criminology, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Psychology, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in applied Social Sciences, and a Certificate of Qualification in Social Work. Dr Sullivan is an honorary lecturer in Forensic Psychology at the University of Birmingham, UK.

For the past 20 years, Dr Sullivan has worked with police officers, social workers, probation officers, faith groups and educationalists to provide insights into the motivations, thoughts and behaviours of child sex offenders. He is regularly commissioned to undertake assessments for the Social Service Departments, Probation Services, Churches and Education departments and has been called as an expert witness to give evidence to criminal, civil and family courts.

Dr Sullivan has worked extensively in law enforcement since 1996, assisting UK and European police forces with investigations into the sexually motivated abduction, murder and assault of children. Since 2006, Dr Sullivan has also been the Forensic Psychologist in the Behaviour Analysis Unit in the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). He has received a Chief Constables Commendation for his contribution to the investigation into the sexually motivated abduction and murder of a child in 2001.

Dr Sullivan has also undertaken assessment and therapeutic intervention work with women who sexually abuse children and adults accused or suspected of professional sexual misconduct. Part of his work also includes the assessment and treatment of adult survivors of child sexual abuse.

He has published and presented papers to national and international conferences on the techniques he uses for engaging, assessing and interviewing sexual offenders.

Dr Valerie Sheehan

Valerie Sheehan B&WDr Sheehan works with Mentor and is also clinical director with New Ways Safeguarding Ltd; an organisation which specialises in working with young people and their families where problematic sexual behaviour (PSB) and/or child sexual abuse (CSA)/exploitation (CSE) are of concern. She holds a doctorate in forensic criminology from the London Metropolitan University, a Masters in Education, a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Higher Diploma in Education. She has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Counselling for Sexual Abuse and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Integrative Psychotherapy. Valerie has completed specialist training in Cognitive Behavioural assessment and treatment techniques for sex offenders. In addition, she has undertaken AIM2 Training, an assessment framework used to examine sexual risk in adolescent males she is also trained to undertake MEGA, as well as the Good Lives Model, additional approaches for assessing problematic sexual behaviour in children.

In her work for Valerie regularly undertakes assessments, intervention and educative work with children, adults and family members where there are concerns about PSB/CSA and CSE. She regularly provides consultancy to the Child and Family Agency, Guardian ad Litum and other professionals and organisations working with children. She is the Clinical Director of Programme Delivery with Compass Children’s Homes and Specialist Foster Care provisions, a UK based organisation which provides specialist services for children who exhibit and have experienced problematic and abusive sexual behaviour. She regularly delivers training to professionals on topics relevant to these issues. She also provides assessment reports for court in both civil and criminal proceedings.

Her doctoral research looked at the psychological and behavioural characteristics and trajectories of individuals who sexually offended against children. Her work focused in particular on those who produced child sexual exploitation material (indecent images & video) as part of this behaviour and sought to examine the early life aetiology and development of their offending process.

Valerie worked as a Senior Therapist for the Lucy Faithfull Foundation from July 1999 until February 2005. She was based at the Foundation’s Wolvercote Clinic, the only specialist residential sex offender assessment and treatment programme of its kind in Europe, until its closure in July 2002. Her work there involved programme delivery, case management and consultancy to statutory and non-statutory organisations such as Police, Probation, Social Services, the Judiciary and Faith Groups. In addition, she created and developed new training packages for the Foundation in particular in relation to sexual offending via the internet and was a regular contributor to the Home Office Task Forces on child protection in this regard. During her time with the Lucy Faithful Foundation she worked extensively with wives/partners of those who had sexually abused children, undertaking assessments of their ability to protect their children for civil court proceedings as well as educative/intervention work to help them attain and develop skills to enhance child protection.

Prior to her appointment as a therapist for the Lucy Faithful Foundation, Valerie worked for six years as a therapist in the Cork Rape Crisis Centre, Ireland. Her work there involved individual and group therapy facilitation, preparing victim impact reports for courts, liaising with police and other professional agencies and the planning and presenting of educational programmes in the area of sexual abuse.