Dr Rebecca Barnes

Becky BarnesLecturer in Criminology

Contact Details

  • Tel: +44 (0)116 252 5707
  • Email: rb358@le.ac.uk
  • Twitter: @LGBTviolence
  • Office: Room 2.06, 2nd floor, 154 Upper New Walk
  • Office Hours: By appointment

Personal details


I have been Lecturer in School in the Department of Criminology since 2013, having previously been Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Derby. My roles in the School include being the Deputy Chair of the Postgraduate Research Committee, which oversees all aspects of the PhD student journey, and I am also a member of the School’s Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team.

I have been researching domestic violence and abuse for 15 years, using both qualitative and quantitative methods, and I have a particular interest in the ethical and methodological issues inherent in domestic violence research. Whilst I have a wider interest in the spectrum of gender-based violence and the interconnectedness of different forms of interpersonal and structural violence, my expertise centres on domestic violence and abuse in lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGB and/or T) people’s relationships. Moreover, I have recently completed a study of domestic abuse and the Church and I am currently researching LGBT mental health and NHS service provision.


• Domestic and Sexual Violence (MSc option module)

• Victimology (MSc core module)

• Gender and Crime (BSc Year 3 option module)

• Researching ‘Vulnerable’ and Hard-to-Reach Populations (doctoral training)

Administrative duties

• Deputy Chair of the Criminology Postgraduate Research Committee

• Member of the Criminology Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team


• Domestic violence

• Sexual violence

• Gender, sexuality and crime

• Religion and crime

• Methodological issues in research sensitive topics and marginalised groups

My current and recent research projects include:

Improving mental health outcomes for LGBT people in Nottingham (2017-2019, Principal Investigator)

This innovative, mixed-methods research has been commissioned by NHS Nottingham City Clinical Commissioning Group. I am the PI for this project in collaboration with Dr Clare Gunby and Dr Tammy Ayres, also of the School of Criminology, and Prof. Katherine Johnson from the University of Brighton/RMIT Melbourne. Our research takes a participatory approach and we are working with three LGBT community researchers and a steering group. A rapid evidence assessment has been completed, as well as a creative data collection event at Nottinghamshire Pride 2018. Focus groups and interviews with LGBT people and interviews with health practitioners and commissioners will also be taking place, as well as creative arts workshops with young people. This project will produce new research evidence that will inform the commissioning of primary care and community mental health services in Nottingham to better meet LGBT people’s needs.

You can access the Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) of available literature on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) mental health in the United Kingdom, produced as part of this research, here.

Domestic abuse and the Church: a case study of Cumbria (2016-2018, Co-Investigator)

This research project was led by Dr Kristin Aune at Coventry University and was conducted in collaboration with Restored and Churches Together in Cumbria. Collectively funded by the Allen Lane Foundation, the Matthew 25:25 Trust, the Andrews Charitable Trust and an anonymous funder, this research project has collected the largest dataset in the UK to date about churchgoers’ experiences of, and church responses to, domestic abuse. We conducted a survey of churchgoers in Cumbria (n=438) and are now working on plans to secure funding for a larger, UK-wide study. Impact and dissemination activities are ongoing and have included presentations to church leaders and lay people with safeguarding responsibilities, sermons and training at safeguarding events.

Click here to access the final project report, produced in March 2018.

Download our infographic for a quick overview of our research findings.

Medium risk, repeat female victims of domestic abuse in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (2013-2016, Joint Principal Investigator)

This project was commissioned by Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner and was jointly led by Dr Clare Gunby and myself, in collaboration with Dr Tammy Ayres and Dr Sarah Hodgkinson (formerly of the School of Criminology), and in partnership with Nottingham-based domestic violence agency, Equation. We evaluated a multi-site pilot intervention for medium risk, repeat victims/survivors of domestic abuse, conducting interviews with service users, statistical analysis of police and Women’s Aid data and interviews with the three key workers at three different time points. The research involved close collaboration with various statutory and non-statutory agencies including Nottinghamshire Police, Nottingham City Council, Women’s Aid Integrated Services and Nottinghamshire Women’s Aid.

Click here to access the final project report, produced in March 2016.

The Coral Project: Exploring the relationships practices of LGB and/or T abusive partners (2012-2014, Co-Investigator)

This ESRC-funded project, led by Prof. Catherine Donovan at the University of Sunderland, was the first UK study to collect data specifically about the perpetration of violent and abusive behaviours in lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGB and/or T) people’s relationships. Using a mixed-methods approach, we conducted a national survey of LGB and/or T people (n=872) and follow-up in-depth interviews with 36 LGB and/or T people yielded original data about relationship expectations, the dynamics of the abuse, and support/intervention needs in LGB and/or T people’s relationships. Interviews and focus groups with 53 practitioners from domestic violence and ‘relationships’ services examined the existing level of provision for LGBT perpetrators and opportunities for, and barriers to, developing LGBT-inclusive perpetrator interventions and relationship services. Widespread academic dissemination and impact activities have taken place and a Palgrave Pivot manuscript is in preparation.

Click here to access the report of findings from the Coral Project, produced in September 2014.

To access archived data from the Coral Project, please visit http://reshare.ukdataservice.ac.uk/851303/


I am an experienced PhD supervisor and examiner and I am happy to accept applications to supervise PhDs on the following topics:

  • Domestic violence victimisation
  • Domestic violence perpetration
  • Sexual violence victimisation
  • Gender, sexuality and crime
  • Homophobic and transphobic hate


Ayres, T.C., Barnes, R., Gunby, C. and Johnson, K. (2019) Improving the Mental Health Outcomes of Nottingham’s LGBT Populations: Quantitative analysis of existing national and regional statistics concerning the mental health needs and healthcare experiences of LGBT people (Available to Download here).

Donovan, C. and Barnes, R. (in preparation – to be submitted January 2019) Queering Narratives of Domestic Violence and Abuse. Palgrave Pivot – Crime series.

Donovan, C. and Barnes, R. (2018) ‘Becoming 'ideal' or falling short?: the legitimacy of lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender victims of domestic violence and hate crime' in Duggan, M. (ed.) Revisiting the ‘Ideal Victim’ Concept. Bristol: Policy Press.

Donovan, C. and Barnes, R. (2017) ‘Making sense of discourses of sameness and difference in agency responses to LGB and/or T abusive partners’, Sexualities. Available Online First at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1363460716665787

Donovan, C. and Barnes, R. (guest editors, 2017) Special issue of Sexualities on domestic violence and abuse in LGB and/or T relationships. OnlineFirst 1/01/2017. • Barnes, R. and Donovan, C. (2017) ‘Domestic violence in lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender relationships’ in Lombard, N. (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Gender and Violence, London: Routledge.

Barnes, R. and Donovan, C. (2016) Developing interventions for abusive partners in lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender relationships’ in Hilder, S. and Bettinson, V. (eds) Domestic Violence: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Protection, Prevention and Intervention, Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Hedderman, C. and Barnes, R. (2015) ‘Sentencing women: An analysis of recent trends’ in Roberts, J. (ed.) Exploring Sentencing Practice in England and Wales, Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Barnes, R. (2013) ‘“I’m over it”: survivor narratives after woman-to-woman partner abuse’, Partner Abuse, 4(3): 380-398.

Barnes, R. (2013) ‘“She expected her women to be pretty, subservient, dinner on the table at six”: problematising the narrative of egalitarianism in lesbian relationships through accounts of woman-to-woman partner abuse’ in Sanger, T. and Taylor, Y. (eds) Mapping Intimacies: Relations, Exchanges, Affects, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Barnes, R. (2008) ‘‘I still sort of flounder around in a sea of non-language’: the constraints of language and labels in women’s accounts of woman-to-woman partner abuse’ in Throsby, K. and Alexander F. (eds) Gender and Interpersonal Violence, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

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T: +44 (0)116 252 2458
E: criminology@le.ac.uk


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