Our board

Deborah Russo - Chair

Deborah is a Solicitor in England & Wales with over 14 years’ experience in the human rights, public law and prison law fields. She is currently undertaking the MSc Criminology & Criminal Justice at the University of Edinburgh.

Prior to her move to Edinburgh, Deborah was co-Director of the Prisoners’ Advice Service (PAS) in London, a position she held for five years. She was previously the lead solicitor in women prisoners’ casework at PAS for nine years, identifying strategic issues with a disproportionate impact on women prisoners. She continues to be involved with PAS as a Consultant. Deborah is also the founder of the Women Prisoners’ Justice Group in England, which she continues to lead, and a member of the Women for Justice Group in Scotland.

Pauline Cowan - Treasurer

Pauline Cowan is treasurer of Zero Tolerance and has been a member of the Board since 2020.

Nicola McCallum

Nicola currently works in Strategic Planning and Policy at Skills Development Scotland. She previously worked at the University of Stirling where her remit included the Advance HE’s Athena SWAN Charter that recognises the advancement of gender equality: representation, progression and success for women employed in higher education and research. Prior to this, she held policy and communications roles with Colleges Scotland and Keep Scotland Beautiful.

Nicola’s academic background is in Politics and Public Policy. She has a strong commitment to equality, especially women’s labour market equality, women in education, and LGBT rights. She is active in a number of voluntary roles in pursuit of that commitment.

Laura James

Laura James currently works at the Improvement Service and leads work to support councils and their partners embed a trauma-informed approach across policy and practice. In previous roles, she has worked in the violence against women sector, including coordinating a network of Cedar projects that support children who have experienced domestic abuse.

Before this, Laura completed a PhD in literature and women’s studies in the US and she has volunteered for a number of organisations. Laura is particularly interested in prevention and early intervention work to end violence against women and is delighted to contribute to Zero Tolerance’s work.

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