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 registered social worker with practice experience in children and families’ social work and sexual violence services. She works as a social work educator and researcher in the Department of Social Work and Social Care. A key part of Louise’s role involves teaching and tutoring students as part of the qualifying Social Work programmes, and she enjoys leading the undergraduate final year dissertation module and second year enhancing skills module. Louise’s is interested in how social workers use and create knowledge for the benefit of citizens and social work services and the role of ‘research minded’ social work.

Louise’s research interests focus on gendered-based violence and care relationships. Her PhD explored the experience of female carers affected by harm and abuse by the older family member for whom they care, and the way professions identify, respond and ‘make sense’ of this complex and somewhat taboo social issue. Louise has also worked as a researcher on a range of projects focusing on victim-survivors experiences of domestic and sexual violence as well as projects investigating the needs of ‘vulnerable’ children, for example, in the context of receiving dental health services and in engaging in participatory research. Louise’s work draws on qualitative and mixed methods approaches and she is committed to ensuring people with lived experience and expertise play a central role in research.


  • Post graduate certificate in higher education (PGCHE), University of Birmingham
  • PhD, University of Birmingham
  • MSc Social Work, University of Bristol
  • BA History (hons), University of Cambridge


  • BA3 Dissertation (Social Work)
  • BA2 Enhancing Skills for Social Work
  • BA1 Psychology for Social Work
  • MA Social Work

Postgraduate supervision

Louise supervises PhD students with an interest in the following areas: domestic and sexual violence; care relationships and experiences in adulthood. 


Highlight 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, 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

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

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 .

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

Recent publications


Isham, L, Tighe, K & Fenton, S-J 2024, 'Teaching note: personal attack or the personal touch? Evaluating the use of video feedback methods with qualifying social workers', Social Work Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2024.2358837

Gunby, C, Isham, L, Smailes, H, Bradbury-Jones, C, Damery, S, Harlock, J, Maxted, F, Smith, D & Taylor, J 2024, 'Working the edge: The emotional experiences of commissioning and funding arrangements for service leaders in the sexual violence voluntary sector', Violence against Women, vol. 30, no. 8, pp. 1783-1803. https://doi.org/10.1177/10778012241239945

Fenton, S-J, Carr, S & Isham, L 2024, '‘Anyone can make bad use of a good law’: exploring how constrained choice can result in moral injury', Clinics in Integrated Care, vol. 22, 100190. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intcar.2023.100190

Isham, L, Taylor, J & Scott, 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

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

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

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


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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