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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.


I will be teaching on PS6002 Developmental Psychology and PS7313 Developmental Psychology for Conversion. I will also be supporting students with dissertations on PS6001 Research Dissertation and PS7112 Dissertation.


My research is principally around faith, safeguarding and abuse. In recent years I have researched safeguarding adults, child abuse linked to faith and belief and spiritual abuse. I am also working with colleagues at Bournemouth university on a project exploring the impact on researchers of conducting sensitive research or research with marginalised groups. We have obtained a small grant for a pilot piece of research and are building towards a Leverhulme bid. I am also developing an Erasmus bid with a colleague at Chester University.

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


I obtained my doctorate in 2009 from Manchester Metropolitan University. My topic was ‘Understanding the Experience of Spiritual Abuse in the Christian Faith in the UK’.