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Charlotte Bishop

Charlotte Bishop

Areas of interest

Dr Charlotte Bishop’s research interests lie in the areas of feminist legal theory and gender-based violence, with a specific focus on intimate partner violence and the intersections between criminal justice, criminal law, and feminist legal theory. Her work combines deeper systemic critique with more practice-facing elements and engagement with legal doctrine and policy, and emphasises the importance of taking a feminist approach to understanding and addressing gender-based violence. Charlotte welcomes expressions of interest from prospective PhD students in the areas of feminist legal theory and gender-based violence, broadly construed to include intimate partner violence (domestic violence), coercive control, sexual violence, pornography, intimate image abuse, and the 'rough sex' defence.

Charlotte joined the University of Reading as Associate Professor in Criminal Law in September 2022, having previously been a Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Exeter. Recently she has advised the Law Commission on their review of the law on intimate image abuse ('revenge porn'), with two forthcoming publications cited in the final report and recommendations published in July 2022. Previous research has explored the potential for the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 to transform the response to domestic violence and abuse in England and Wales, how domestic violence, including ‘controlling or coercive behaviour’ under s 76 Serious Crime Act 2015, could be more effectively evidenced in criminal proceedings, and how courtroom participation could be made safer and more effective for witnesses who have experienced domestic violence, particularly where there is trauma. 

Charlotte is currently conducting research on women who kill their abusive partners. Her work combining the conceptual framework of coercive control with insights from neuroscience on attachment and traumatic defences aims to improve criminal justice responses to victims of intimate partner violence who use fatal violence against their partner. Alongside this, Charlotte is writing up findings from an SLSA-funded project with Dr Marian Duggan (Criminology, Kent) exploring the experiences of feminist academics who incorporate gender and intersectional perspectives into their teaching of criminal justice-related modules. With Dr Sarah Cole (Education, Exeter) and Helen Knowler (Education, UCL) she is also conducting a funded pilot project in collaboration with the South West Grid for Learning, an umbrella organisation working to end online harms. This project aims to explore the extent and nature of harmful sexual behaviour in schools and identify effective support to enable schools and criminal justice agencies to better respond and prevent harm of this kind.

Charlotte makes regular media appearances to talk about issues surrounding gender-based violence and criminal justice and is passionate about raising awareness of the need to reframe discussions about 'women’s safety' to name and address male violence as the root cause. She is also frequently invited to speak at non-academic conferences and events. 


Charlotte teaches on the following modules:

  • Criminal Law (LLB)
  • Legal Skills (LLB)
  • Criminology (LLB)

Academic qualifications

  • PhD (University of Exeter)
  • LLB (first class Hons) (University of Kent)

Selected publications

  • Charlotte Bishop, 'The impact of proposed intimate image abuse offences on domestic violence and abuse' (2022) 73 Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 125–153.
  • Marian Duggan and Charlotte Bishop, ‘Resilience Narratives and the Evolution of Feminist Pedagogic Identities’ in Michelle Ronksley-Pavia, Amy Bonsall, Michelle Neumann and Jane Manakil (eds), Women in Academia: Resilience Narratives (Springer, 2022).
  • Charlotte Bishop, 'Prevention and Protection: will the Domestic Abuse Act transform the response to domestic abuse in England and Wales?' (2021) 33 Child and Family Law Quarterly 163-183.
  • Charlotte Bishop, 'Safe and Effective Courtroom Participation for Domestic Violence Complainant-Witnesses' in J Child And A Duff (eds) Criminal Law Reform Now: Proposals and Critique, (Hart Publishing, 2018).
  • Charlotte Bishop and Vanessa Bettinson, 'Evidencing domestic violence*, including behaviour that falls under the new offence of ‘controlling or coercive behaviour’' (2017) The International Journal of Evidence & Proof 22(1), 3-29.
  • Charlotte Bishop, 'Domestic Violence: Understanding the Gender Paradigm' Family Courts Journal (Autumn 2017).
  • Charlotte Bishop, 'Domestic Violence: The Limitations of a Legal Response' in S Hilder and V Bettinson (eds) Domestic Violence: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Protection, Prevention and Intervention (Palgrave, 2016).
  • Charlotte Bishop 'Rule that proof of domestic violence for legal aid purposes must be less than 24 months old declared invalid' (2016) Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 38(3), 330–332.
  • Vanessa Bettinson and Charlotte Bishop, 'Is the creation of a discrete offence of coercive control necessary to combat domestic violence?' (2015) Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 66(2) 179-197.

Non-academic publications