Vivien Stern is a visiting professor at the University of Essex and an independent member of the House of Lords, the upper house of the UK parliament. From 1999 to 2003, she was a member of the House of Lords European Select Committee and was a member of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights from 2004 to 2008. From 2003 to 2009, she was the convener of the Scottish Consortium on Crime and Criminal Justice. She was appointed by the UK government in September 2009 to lead a review of how rape complaints are handled. She is honorary president of Penal Reform International, which she helped found in 1989. Her numerous publications include six books. Stern graduated from Bristol University, has honorary degrees from Bristol, Oxford Brookes, Stirling, Edinburgh, and Glasgow Universities, and is an honorary fellow of the London School of Economics and Political Science.