On Wednesday 8th June 2016, Dr Lisa Oakley (pictured) presented a seminar at DMU entitled: “The whole thing is based on fear- this is abuse and people need to know that” – Exploring Spiritual Abuse and the implications for policy and practice.

Lisa-story-pic-560x300pxThis seminar explored the topic of spiritual abuse. This form of abuse is attracting growing attention in light of changes to the definitions of domestic violence to include coercion and control and in response to the prevent agenda. Understanding psychological and emotional abuse in faith settings is of increasing importance. This seminar firstly explored what Spiritual Abuse is, the impact it has on the individual and links between spiritual abuse and other forms of abuse. It then considered challenges for safeguarding policy and practice and report recent advances in these areas.

Dr Lisa Oakley is programme leader for the only undergraduate course in Abuse Studies in the UK based at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research is principally in the area of Spiritual abuse and safeguarding in faith based organisations. In 2013 Lisa co-authored a book entitled ‘Breaking the Silence on Spiritual Abuse’ this was published by Palgrave MacMillan and is the first book based on empirical research on this topic in the UK. Lisa has spoken extensively on the topic of spiritual abuse across the UK at national and international conferences. Lisa has taught in Higher Education for over 20 years.