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  2. Dr Lis Bates

Dr Lis Bates

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Policing Research and Learning. I joined the OU in 2019 from the Centre for Gender and Violence Research in the School for Policy Studies at Bristol University.

My interests are in different forms of violence against women and girls, in particular domestic and sexual violence, forced marriage and honour-based abuse. Drawing on a feminist lens, my work aims to improve services for victims/survivors, to hold perpetrators accountable, and to improve our laws and criminal justice responses. 

I come from a policy and a research background, with experience across the public and NGO sectors before entering academia. I began my career in the Home Office and spent six years as a non-political policy adviser to parliamentary select committees (Home Affairs and Education) before joining national domestic abuse charity SafeLives as Head of Research and Evaluation. 

Research interests

My research interests are across gender and violence against women nationally and internationally. I research policy and practice responses to victims/survivors of intimate partner, family and sexual abuse, especially in criminal justice and policing settings. I use qualitative and quantitative methods, as well as secondary data analysis of police and agency case file data.

My PhD analysed 1,500 cases of honour-based abuse and forced marriage in the UK to develop a typology of abuse based on the relationship(s) between victims and perpetrators. I have since led work across the UK and four Scandinavian countries to map and improve policy and justice responses to honour-based abuse.

I have worked on several major academic research projects since 2015, including:

  • Justice, Inequality and Gender-Based Violence (2016-18): the project interviewed over 250 victims/survivors of abuse and analysed 1500 police case files to ask what 'truly victim-centered justice' would look like for victims/survivors;
  • Addressing Sexual Violence Against Refugee Women (2017-18): a five-country EU collaboration developing and delivering training for front-line practitioners on how to identify and help refugee women experiencing sexual violence;
  • The Drive and ReProvide RCT evaluations of behaviour change programmes for perpetrators of domestic abuse (2018-19)
  • Victims' Voices: Honour Based Violence and Policing (2015): An HMIC-commissioned evaluation of victims' experiences of reporting HBV, forced marriage and FGM to the police.

Prior to academia I led NGO research evaluating support services for adult victims of domestic abuse; services for children witnessing domestic abuse; the effectiveness of putting domestic abuse advocates into hospitals; and young people experiencing intimate partner violence. I also led an evaluation of the impact of the Gender Act 2014 on international development aid and gender equality on behalf of Plan International and The GREAT Initiative.

Teaching interests

I have lectured, led seminars and convened units on undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Social Policy and Criminology, including:

  • Controlling Crime and Social Harm
  • International Analysis of Crime and Harm
  • Youth, Sexualities and Gender Based Violence
  • International Perspectives on Gender Based Violence
  • Understanding Parliament

I have supervised MSc and undergraduate dissertations.

Impact and engagement

  • I give policy advice to universities on influencing parliament and government on VAWG - for instance, drafting a departmental submission to the Government's consultation on the Domestic Abuse Bill; and written evidence to select committees.
  • I have provided expert research support on VAWG to national policy influencing organisations - e.g. arranging a secondment to the End Violence Against Women Campaign.
  • I have carried out two EU TAIEX Missions as a national expert: one to Georgia to chair an international experts' conference; the other as advisor to the Lebanese Government on preparing their first national Gender Equality strategy.
  • I have commented on rape cases in broadcast media (e.g. Radio 4 PM).

External collaborations

  • I am Associate Editor for the Journal of Gender Based Violence.
  • I am a Goodwill Ambassador for the national Honour-Based Violence Research Matrix (HARM).

I collaborate with academic and practitioner colleagues across Europe, in particular in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. 


No longer a civil matter? The design and use of protection orders for domestic violence in England and Wales (2020)
Bates, Lis and Hester, Marianne
Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 42(2) (pp. 133-153)

Honor-Based Abuse in England and Wales: Who Does What to Whom? (2020)
Bates, Lis
Violence Against Women ((Early access))

What does justice mean to black and minority ethnic (BME) victims/survivors of gender-based violence? (2019)
Gangoli, Geetanjali; Bates, Lis and Hester, Marianne
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies ((Early Access))

Justice for victims of sexual abuse and harassment: lessons for Westminster? (2018-06)
Bates, Lis
Journal of Gender Based Violence, 2(2) (pp. 397-402)

Female perpetrators of honour-based violence: conspirators, collaborators, coerced? (2018)
Bates, Lis
Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 10(4) (pp. 293-303)

Honour-based Abuse in England and Wales: Who Does What to Whom? (2017-01)
Bates, Lis
PhD thesis University of Bristol