Our Staff

Kerry Smith joined the Helen Bamber Foundation in May 2018. Kerry started her career at the Refugee Legal Centre and as a trainee at Bhatt Murphy Solicitors. Moving into international humanitarian work Kerry was posted in Ethiopia and Columbia for the International Committee of the Red Cross before returning to work as a Gender Adviser at Amnesty International UK focusing on trafficking. This is when she first came across the work of the Helen Bamber Foundation. She then moved to work on children in conflict at Save the Children before joining Plan International UK as Head of Girls Rights and Youth and developing a new area of work on girls rights in the UK.


Cornelius is responsible for all clinical services provided. He is the former Dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, where he remains a Fellow. He is Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Kent and is Honorary Professor in the Division of Psychiatry at University College London.

He has completed over 1,500 Medico-Legal Reports documenting the psychological impact of torture, human trafficking and other extreme human cruelty. He is an expert on the long-term and complex mental health impact following such experiences, and is published widely. He led a Royal College of Psychiatrists working group providing guidance on writing psychiatric reports in the immigration and asylum context and is a member of the Committee overall responsibility for clinical, therapy and research activities.


Kat joined the Helen Bamber Foundation in November 2017 as Head of Legal Protection and. Previously she worked in a well-recognised legal aid firm for over eight years representing victims of trafficking and asylum seekers before moving to a private immigration practice prior to joining the Foundation.

Kat specialises in immigration, human rights and public law. In 2011 she completed the Qualified Lawyers’ Transfer Test, (having been called to the Bar in 2008) to qualify as a solicitor and obtained her Higher Rights of Audience to qualify as a solicitor advocate in 2015.

Having run a number of test case litigation influencing both immigration law and practice, as well as establishing the position for criminal deportees who were at risk on return from the Democratic Republic of Congo in the case of P (DRC), R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWHC 3879 (Admin), Kat became one of less than 60 individuals to obtain the Level 3 accreditation under the Immigration and Asylum Law Accreditation scheme, and is an advanced immigration law practitioner.

As Head of Legal Protection, Kat’s responsibilities include ensuring that all clients without status have access to good quality legal representation under the Legal Aid scheme where available and working in tandem with instructing solicitors to provide expert evidence (such as medico-legal reports) where necessary.

With over ten years’ experience of working in the sector of immigration and human rights, Kat is passionate about assisting the marginalised and vulnerable in society, to afford them an opportunity to have their voice heard and their cases fought tenaciously in a system pitted against the individual.

Serena Gonfiantini began working for HBF as Client Services Manager in July 2017. Her role involves collaborative work as a member of the Legal Protection team to ensure the effective administration of the services offered to clients. Serena manages provision of Medico-Legal Reports, coordinates new clients’ initial assessments and care plans, and supports the ongoing development of the HBF’s client database system. Serena is also now leading the implementation and development of a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system across the organisation, which will provide robust reporting and demonstrate the effectiveness of HBF’s work in line with HBF’s strategic goals for 2019-2022.

Serena previously worked in a similar role at Freedom from Torture. She has volunteered for several organisations in the UK, including Bail for Immigration Detainees and the Refugee Law Initiative at the School of Advanced Studies.

Serena has a BA in Political Science (La Sapienza University of Rome; 2009) and an MA in International Relations (2 year; La Sapienza University of Rome; 2011). She spent one year as Erasmus student at the Universitat Autὸnoma de Barcelona (Spain) conducting research on policy making and multilevel governance in the EU. Serena completed her studies to date with an MA in Human Rights at the University of London (Distinction, 2014). Her main focus for her MA was on international refugee protection and emergency responses in situations of mass influx.

Serena’s volunteering experience in the field includes teaching Spanish to young people and children within an indigenous community in Costa Rica.


Rachel leads on all aspects of client work with victims of trafficking, ranging from initial assessments to ongoing protection work. Her work includes legal protection, assisting clients in police investigations and judicial proceedings.

Rachel has written on behalf of HBF for publications including: Trafficking Survivor Care Standards (2015, with the Human Trafficking Foundation), Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Survivors of Modern Slavery (2015, supported by The Freedom Fund) and Trafficking in Human Beings Amounting to Torture and other forms of Ill-Treatment (2013, with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe).

In 2015, Rachel was awarded the 2015 Modern Slavery Media Award for ‘outstanding contribution to the fight against modern slavery’.

Housing and Welfare

Zoe began working at HBF in April 2017. As Welfare and Housing Lead, she leads on all aspects of welfare and housing support for our clients and their children, ensuring that they are not destitute and homeless, and in receipt of all statutory support they are entitled to, with an aim to supporting our clients to be safely housed and supported, and in a stable position to engage in therapeutic and other support.

Zoe studied German and Arabic at the University of Manchester, and a Masters in Migration and Diaspora Studies with Arabic at SOAS, University of London.

Zoe previously led an outreach programme for rough sleeping people in Manchester, as well as an English class for asylum seekers and refugees. More recently after moving to London, she has volunteered at Hackney Migrant Centre, Crisis at Christmas with a focus on providing for the needs of homeless people from outside the UK, the Refugee Council, and as Refugee and Migrants Policy Intern at the Children’s Society, co-authoring a report on barriers to support for destitute migrant families with no recourse to public funds. Zoe also supported the foundation and operation of the accompanying scheme run by NELMA (North East London Migrant Action), supporting and campaigning for the rights of destitute families with no recourse to public funds in London.



Francesca has a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from University College London and also an MSc in Research Methods in Psychology from University College London (Distinction; 2008) and a BSc (Hons) Psychology from the University of Manchester (1st Class; 2006).

Francesca has been working for HBF since January 2015 as Clinical Psychologist and Co-Head of Therapies. She specialises in assessing and treating refugees and survivors of chronic trauma, including people who report a history of torture and sexual violence.

Francesca is also currently working part-time to provide evidence-based treatments for survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire, specialising in working with survivors who are also asylum seekers or refugees. She has specialist training in a number of evidence-based psychological therapies for PTSD and regularly supervise the work of trainee and qualified clinical psychologists.

Francesca has also delivered national and international training to healthcare professionals in Narrative Exposure Therapy.

Amy has worked in mental health services since 2004 and completed her Clinical Psychology training in New Zealand in February 2009. She has additional qualifications in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Cognitive Analytic Therapy.

Since qualifying as a Clinical Psychologist, Amy has worked in adult mental health services, offering therapy to individuals with a range of complex mental health problems including histories of trauma. Amy has a passion for working with refugees and asylum seekers and at present she works part-time for the NHS and part-time for Helen Bamber Foundation, offering therapy for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to this group of people.

Amy offers evidence-based therapies for PTSD including trauma-focused CBT and Narrative Exposure Therapy. She utilises compassion based therapy approaches in her work.

Amy has worked for the Helen Bamber Foundation since April 2016 and currently offers therapy for survivors of trafficking. Amy also offers medico-legal report writing services.

Medical Advisory Service

Dr. Unigwe became the Head of Doctors for the HBF medical advisory service in July 2018. An experienced general practitioner, she has often worked in ethnically diverse and deprived areas of London. Dr Unigwe has a specialist interest in the health of vulnerable groups including asylum seekers, refugees and those with mental health issues. She has also delivered autism awareness training via The Royal College of General Practitioners and The Courts and Tribunals Judiciary.

In addition to overseeing the medical advisory service Dr Unigwe writes expert medicolegal reports for clients of the Helen Bamber Foundation which are used in their tribunal cases.

Jane graduated as a doctor in 1990 with an intercalated degree in psychology from University College Hospital, London. In 1995/6 she trained and qualified as a general practitioner in Birmingham gaining the Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners in 1996. Subsequently she worked as a GP in inner city London for almost twenty years. She remains on the GP locum performers list.

She has worked at the HBF since January 2011. Her work involves the medical care of survivors of human rights violations, as well as providing expert medico-legal reports documenting torture and other forms of abuse. She has set up and leads the foundations Medical Advisory Service. The patients are survivors of torture and human cruelty and often suffer a myriad of deeply entwined physical and psychological health problems.

She has taught externally on refugee health issues and human trafficking, including on medical schools Global Health Programmes and at many NHS training events. She continues to run the internal training at HBF for doctors and psychologists in refugee health and medical report writing.


Sanja joined HBF in September 2018. Sanja came to UK in 1992 as a refugee from Bosnia. She holds B.A. in English language and English literature from Faculty of Philology, University of Novi Sad, Serbia.

Upon arrival to UK Sanja worked as a Home tutor and a Job Search tutor for ethnic minority women in west London. In 1993 Sanja joining Refugee Education and Training Advisory Service (RETAS), a voluntary sector organisation supporting refugees and asylum seekers in accessing education, training and employment. During her 16 years of service for RETAS she worked in various capacities including an Outreach Advisor, a Training Officer, Advice Co-ordinator and a Head of UK Programmes. She project managed several national and transnational partnership projects supported by the European Social Fund and various UK funding streams and she participated in conferences and seminars organised by the European Commission on overcoming barriers to refugees’ education, training and employment in the European Union.

From 2010 to 2017 Sanja worked as a Service Manager for Registration and Nationality Service in Barnet, which provided her with an insight into the ways the local authorities operate.

At HBF Sanja is responsible for strategic development of the Integration and Community department, Database development, Monitoring and Evaluation Framework and overall Operational Management.

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Fundraising and Communications

Bereket has been working for charities since 1998 including Save the Children, World Vision, and Viva in different capacities. Before joining HBF, Bereket had been working as a Global Funding Manager for a children's charity called Viva base in Oxford.

Bereket finished his MBA from the University of Westminster in February 2012. He has also gained Master’s Degree in Social Development Policy and Management at the University of Wales, Swansea, in 2008. He joined HBF in May 2017.

Bereket is passionate about relieving human suffering and upholding their rights.