Rachel E. Lovell, PhD (The Ohio State University, Sociology, 2007), is an Assistant Professor of Criminology in the Department of Criminology and Sociology and Director of the Criminology Research Center at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio.

She is an applied criminologist and methodologist whose research focuses on gender-based violence and victimization, particularly sexual assault, human trafficking, and intimate partner violence. Since 2015, Dr. Lovell has been the Principal Investigator on several large action research projects on untested sexual assault kits in collaboration with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office and the Akron Police Department, with funding provided by the Department of Justice’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative. As an extension of the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, she serves as the lead researcher on the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office’s Lawfully “Owed” DNA Initiative. Dr. Lovell is also the Principal Investigator on a National Institute of Justice grant to employ machine learning technology to analyze the narratives of thousands of sexual assault police reports for “signaling” language regarding a victim’s credibility.

She is an established scholar with over $6 million in external funding in the last nine years and several dozen peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. Her research has been featured in The Atlantic, Washington Post, The New York Times, USA Today, Pro Publica, and Sports Illustrated.


PhD, The Ohio State University, Sociology, 2007
MA, Baylor University, Sociology, 2001
BA, Baylor University, Sociology 2000

Areas of Interest/Professional Expertise

Gender-based violence, sexual assault/rape, sexual assault kits, sexual offending, human trafficking, intimate partner violence, domestic violence, applied methodologist, program evaluation, commnity-based research


Dr. Lovell has been at Cleveland State University since Fall 2021 and the Director of the Criminology Research Center since Spring 2022. Prior to arriving at Cleveland State, she was a Research Assistant Professor (2019-2021) and Senior Research Associate (2012-2019) at the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education at Case Western Reserve University. From 2009 to 2012, Dr. Lovell was a Senior Research Methodologist at DePaul University.

Teaching areas

Criminology, Victimology, Social Statistics, Evaluation Research, Violence and Victimization, Interpersonal Violence, Women and Criminal Justice, Gender-Based Violence, Social Research Methods, Gender Studies/Sociology of Women, Social Stratification/Inequality

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