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About Prof Lisa Oakley

I am currently the Chair of the British Psychological Society safeguarding advisory group and a member of a number of national working groups. I am a visiting fellow at Bournemouth University. I was a core participant in the national inquiry into child sexual abuse and have provided expert witness testimony in cases. I previously chaired the Church of England task and finish group on spiritual abuse, which contributed to the safeguarding children, young people and adults policy. 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

McGregor, K., Taylor, B., & Oakley, L. (2023).  Power, participation, payment and platform: Ethical and methodological issues in recruitment in qualitative domestic violence research, Journal of Family Violence, 38, 1029–1041 (2023).

Oakley, L., Lafferty, M., & McFarlane, L., (2022). ‘The fruit of consultation’: Findings from an online survey on co-production as a solution to the challenges of safeguarding children and young people in International Christian work. Child Abuse Review. 2022; e2767.

Blundell, P., Oakley, L., & Kinmond, K. (2022). Who are we protecting? - Exploring counsellors’ understanding and experience of boundaries. European Journal for Qualitative Research in Psychotherapy, 12, 13-28

Oakley, L, Fenge, L., & Taylor, B. (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, 19(3), 587-610.

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. 

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, 18.

Oakley, L., Kinmond, K., Humphreys, J., (2018). Spiritual abuse in Christian faith settings: Definition, policy and practice guidance. The Journal of Adult Protection20(3/4), 144-154. 

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

Kinmond, K., Oakley, L., Humphreys, J., & Dioum, M. (2017). Child abuse linked to faith or belief: An important issue for counselling practice. British Journal of Counselling and Guidance, 47(6), 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, 18(3).

Oakley, L. & Kinmond, K. (2014). Developing safeguarding policy and practice for spiritual abuse. Journal of Adult Protection, 16(2), 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. (Eds.), Domestic Violence. Interdisciplinary perspectives on protection, prevention and intervention (pp. 203-226).  Palgrave McMillan

Kinmond, K. & Oakley, L. (2015). Working Safely in Spiritual Accompaniment – Applying lessons learned from researching Spiritual Abuse. In Gubi, P (Ed.), Spiritual Accompaniment and Counselling (pp. 145-162). 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.