Dr Louise Isham PhD, MSc, BA, QSW

Dr Louise Isham

Department of Social Work and Social Care
Lecturer in Social Work

Contact details

Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Louise is a lecturer in Social Work who teaches on the BA social work and Step Up to Social Work programmes. Her teaching focuses on 1) research methods for social workers 2) social work skills, values and approaches 3) specialist interest areas such as care relationships, domestic and sexual violence and older adults. She also supervises postdoctoral researchers working in similar areas.  

For ten years, Louise worked in range of roles in voluntary and statutory sector services, including as a crisis worker in a SARC and as registered social worker, before moving into research and teaching at the University of Birmingham. Louise’s research has focused on the lived experience of violence, abuse and care relationships - issues that disproportionality impact women and girls – across the life course. Her research is also interested in people’s experiences accessing social work, health and voluntary sector services and how research can play a role supporting professionals working in these areas. Louise’s work draws on qualitative and mixed-methods approaches and she is committed to ensuring people with lived experience play a central role driving and creating research through co-produced and participatory methods. 


  • PhD, University of Birmingham (2019) Exploring the experiences and needs of family carers affected by harmful, violent or abusive behaviour by the older person for whom they care
  • MSc Social Work, University of Bristol (2012)
  • BA (hons) History, University of Cambridge (2007)
  • Registered social worker (Health and Care Professionals Council)


Social work skills, values and approaches

Research methods for social workers

Social work with victim-survivors of domestic and sexual violence 


Other activities

  • Principal investigator for a seed research project: Addressing sexual assault and harassment of women when travelling in India: developing a community-based education intervention for young men and boys, Jan-Sept 2019, funded by the Institution of Global Innovation (UoB).
  • College of Medical and Dental Sciences (UoB) endowment fund PhD studentship, Oct 2015 to Sept 2018.
  • Advisory member of the West Midlands Sexual Assault and Abuse Board


Recent publications


Bradbury-Jones, C & Isham, L (eds) 2021, Understanding Gender-Based Violence: An Essential Textbook for Nurses, Healthcare Professionals and Social Workers. 1 edn, Springer Nature. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-65006-3


Isham, L, Scott, J & Taylor, J 2021, 'Feasibility and acceptability of the ‘Never Events’ method in the context of multi-agency child protection: findings from an exploratory study', Journal of Interprofessional Care. https://doi.org/10.1080/13561820.2021.1884053

Bradbury-Jones, C, Aveyard, H, Herber, OR, Isham, L, Taylor, J & O’malley, L 2021, 'Scoping reviews: the PAGER framework for improving the quality of reporting', International Journal of Social Research Methodology, vol. 2021, no. 00, pp. 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1080/13645579.2021.1899596

Taylor, J, Bradbury‐jones, C, Held, J, Isham, L & Mcconnell, N 2021, 'Working with British Army Families: A Qualitative Study of Child Protection Practitioners' Views and Experiences', Child Abuse Review, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 166-173. https://doi.org/10.1002/car.2682

Isham, L, Bradbury-Jones, C & Hewison, A 2020, 'Female family carers’ experiences of violent, abusive or harmful behaviour by the older person for whom they care: a case of epistemic injustice?', Sociology of Health and Illness, vol. 42, no. 1, pp. 80-94. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.12986

Gunby, C, Isham, L, Damery, S, Taylor, J & Bradbury-Jones, C 2020, 'Sexual violence and COVID-19: all silent on the home front', Journal of Gender-Based Violence, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 421-429. https://doi.org/10.1332/239868020X15984631696329

Isham, L, Bradbury-Jones, C & Hewison, A 2020, '“This is still all about love”: practitioners’ perspectives of working with family carers affected by the harmful behaviour of the older person for whom they care', British Journal of Social Work. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcaa129

Combes, G, Damery, S, Gunby, C, Harlock, J, Isham, L, Jones, A, Maxted, F, Parmar, P, Schaub, J, Smith, D, Taylor, J & Bradbury-Jones, C 2019, 'Supporting survivors of sexual violence: protocol for a mixed methods, co-research study of the role, funding and commissioning of specialist services provided by the voluntary sector in England', BMJ open, vol. 9, no. 12, e035739. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-035739

Bradbury-Jones, C, Isham, L, Morris, A & Taylor, J 2019, 'The “neglected” relationship between child maltreatment and oral health? an international scoping review of research', Trauma, Violence and Abuse. https://doi.org/10.1177/1524838019841598

Isham, L, Bradbury-Jones, C & Hewison, A 2018, 'Reflections on engaging with an advisory network in the context of a ‘sensitive’ research study', International Journal of Social Research Methodology .

Bradbury-Jones, C, Isham, L & Taylor, J 2018, 'The complexities and contradictions in participatory research with vulnerable children and young people: A qualitative systematic review', Social Science and Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.08.038

Isham, L, Hewison, A & Bradbury-Jones, C 2017, 'When older people are violent or abusive toward their family caregiver: a review of mixed-methods research', Trauma, Violence and Abuse. https://doi.org/10.1177/1524838017726425


Bradbury-Jones, C & Isham, L 2020, 'The pandemic paradox: the consequences of COVID-19 on domestic violence', Journal of Clinical Nursing, vol. 29, no. 13-14, pp. 2047-2049. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.15296


Isham, L, Bradbury-Jones, C & Hewison, A 2016, 'Family carers affected by harmful behaviour from the older person for whom they care: Investigating their needs and experiences', Clinical Research Network, National Institute for Health Research, West Midlands Ageing Event. Birmingham Research Park, 21/10/16 - 21/10/16.

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