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About Dr Lisa Oakley

I am currently the Chair of the National working group for child abuse linked to faith and belief. One of our current tasks is reviewing the National Action Plan and producing a revised version of this to promote more effective identification, response and prevention. I am also a member of the national FGM centre advisory group. I chair the Church of England Task and Finish group for Spiritual Abuse, where we are developing policy and practice in this area. I am a visiting fellow at Bournemouth University. I am a Chartered Psychologist and a Senior Fellow of the HEA.


At undergraduate level Lisa teaches on Using your Psychology (PS5008), Social and Individual Psychology (PS5018),  The Psychology of Identity, Community and Diversity (PS5500),  Research Dissertation (PS6001), Developmental Psychology (PS6002),  and Applications in Forensic Psychology:Specialist Approaches (PS6009). At postgraduate level Lisa is module lead for the Family and Child Psychology Dissertation (PS7308) and teaches on Researching Thought and Behaviour (PS7301), Family Psychology in Society (PS7305) and Developmental Psychology for Conversion (PS7313)


Lisa’s research is principally around faith, safeguarding and abuse. In recent years she has researched safeguarding adults, child abuse linked to faith and belief and spiritual abuse. She has also worked with colleagues at Bournemouth University on a project exploring the impact on researchers of conducting sensitive research or research with marginalised groups. Her most recent piece of research is in Collaboration with Prof Moira Lafferty on safeguarding children and young people in international Christian work.

Lisa’s research has fed into policy and expert witness reports.

Published Work

Oakley, L. (2019) ‘I call it the hero complex’ – Critical considerations of power and privilege and seeking to be an agent of change in qualitative researchers’ experiences. Qualitative Research in Psychology. DOI 10.1080/14780887.2020.1718813

Oakley, L., Kinmond, K., Humphreys, J. & Dioum, M. (2019). Safeguarding Children who are Exposed to Abuse Linked to Faith or Belief. Child Abuse Review Vol. 28: 27–38. DOI: 10.1002/car.2540 

Fenge, L. A., Oakley, L., Taylor, B., & Beer, S. (2019). The Impact of Sensitive Research on the Researcher: Preparedness and Positionality. International Journal of Qualitative Methods.

Oakley, L; Kinmond, K; Humphreys, J (2018) Spiritual abuse in Christian faith settings: definition, policy and practice guidance, The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 20 Issue: 3/4, pp.144-154

Oakley, L; Kinmond, K; Humprheys, J & Dioum, M (2017) Practitioner and communities’ awareness of CALFB: Child abuse linked to faith or belief. Child Abuse and Neglect (72 2017. 276-282)

Kinmond, K: Oakley, L; Humprheys, J & Dioum, M (2017) child abuse linked to faith or belief; An important issue for counselling practice. British Journal of Counselling and Guidance, Sept 2017, 1-10

Oakley, L; Bass, S; Fenge, L & Humphreys, J (2016) “Exploring the complexities of understanding vulnerability and adult safeguarding within Christian Faith Organisations’’ Journal of Adult Protection, 2016.ID: JAP-02-2015-0004

Oakley, L & Kinmond, K. Developing Safeguarding policy and practice for spiritual abuse. Journal of Adult Protection, 2014, Vol 16; Issue 2 pp 87-95.

Book Chapters

Oakley, L & Kinmond, K (2016) The relationship between Spiritual Abuse and Domestic Violence and Abuse in Faith Based Communities in Hilder, S and Bettison, V (2016) Domestic Violence. Interdisciplinary perspectives on protection, prevention and interventionPalgrave McMillan

Kinmond, K and Oakley, L (2015) Working Safely in Spiritual Accompaniment – Applying lessons learned from researching Spiritual Abuse in Gubi, P (Ed) Spiritual Accompaniment and Counselling. Jessica Kingsley Publishers


Lisa obtained her doctorate in 2009 from Manchester Metropolitan University. Her topic was ‘Understanding the Experience of Spiritual Abuse in the Christian Faith in the UK’. Lisa is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.