Professorial Inaugural Lecture Series: Professor Kate Moss video transcript

The title screen appears. A blue background is shown with the University of Derby 3 hills logo in white in the middle of the screen. The University of Derby name in white is directly below. White text on the screen reads below:

Professorial Inaugural Lecture Series: Domestic Abuse and Rough Sleeping: From Hidden Crime to Hidden Homelessness 

It fades into a live video of Paul Lynch on a webcam. He is a man with grey hair. He is wearing glasses, a black suit jacket with a white striped shirt and a black tie.

[Paul] Hello and good evening. I'm Professor Paul Lynch and on behalf of the university of council I'd like to welcome you to the final of this year's inaugural lecture series which will be given by my colleague Professor Kate Moss.

Can I now invite Professor Kamil Omoteso, the PVC dean for the college of Business, Law and Social Sciences to formally introduce Kate to you all.

A live video of Kamil Omoteso on a webcam appears. He is a man with black hair. He is wearing a black suit jacket, a white shirt and a red tie.

[Kamil] Thank you Paul.

Professor Kate Moss was educated at Manchester Metropolitan University where she gained an LLB Honors Degree in Law. The University of Cambridge where is where she took an MPhil in criminology and at Manchester University graduating in 1997 with a PhD in social policy.

Her 32 -year career has been spent in four universities during which she has both taught and has been involved in research.

In terms of her research career, she has specialised in applied research, seeking to find solutions to important social issues relating to crime prevention and most recently homelessness.

She has led on research for the European Commission, the UK Home Office and numerous police forces, local authorities and charitable organisations throughout England.

She has published six monographs, one of which was nominated for the Society of Legal Scholars heart prize. She has contributed to 10 edited books and has written over 30 academic journal articles.

Kate's work into crime prevention specifically has involved providing policy interviews for the home office and national police training units. She has also provided crime and disorder training for police forces and local authorities nationally in England and Wales.

Her research has involved assessing the impact of the crime and disorder acts and developing a risk index for domestic burglary. Her work with the police has also involved ground-breaking research on police disciplinary processes and the mental health of police officers funded by the Police Mutual Assurance Society.

Hailed as a significant piece by the Police Federation, this work is being used to support the introduction of time limits on disciplinary cases and has fed into the policy making of police standards department.

In the last 10 years, Kate has secured in excess of 2.3 million pounds of research funding to support projects looking at the issue of women's homelessness and in January 2020 in recognition of her work in this area Kate was featured in the churches media alongside the charity refuge baroness Jean Corston and Jenny Hearl of the prison reform trust as one of the pioneers who was campaigning for the recognition of the plight of homeless women.

Professor Moss' work for the European Commission has involved research with homeless women across Europe and she has worked with practitioners and local government organizations in several countries to facilitate this. 

She presented the findings of these projects to the European Parliament and this research established, for the first time, that significant numbers of women became homeless as a direct result of fleeing domestic abuse. As a result, she has campaigned for a gendered approach to the problem of women's homelessness.

Professor Moss is currently involved in research into homelessness amongst students in higher education, for which she secured a British academy and Liverpool grant.

Kate's research has established for the first time, that this social phenomenon is a problem that few in the higher education sector or elsewhere are aware of due to the hidden nature of homelessness amongst students. No UK research studies have so far investigated this problem.

Having collecting data for a pilot study in one university on the extent of the problem, the experiences of students who have been homeless and what policies exist within higher education institutions to assist students when they experience home insecurity. Kate is now open to secure ESRC funding to carry out this research on a national scale.

Throughout her career, Kate's research has been applied, impactive and has been accessible to a range of people both within academia and also outside of that within the practitioner's fair.

To learn more about her extraordinary work in the field of applied criminology and the intersection between homelessness and crime, distinguished colleagues, it is my pleasure to present to you Professor Kate Moss.

A live video of Kate Moss on a webcam appears on the right side of the screen. She is a woman with mid-length brunette hair. She is wearing a black blazer and a leopard spot print top.

On the left side of the screen, white background with black text opening slide. The black text in the middle of the slide reads the title of Kate’s inaugural lecture:

‘Domestic Abuse and Rough Sleeping: From Hidden Crime to Hidden Homelessness’.

The University of Derby’s black logo of three hills appears in the top left corner. To the right of the text, an abstract image of the University of Derby Friar Gate campus.

[Kate] Thanks very much Kamil for your kind introduction and thanks to everybody for making the effort to log in to this lecture this evening.

So, I'd like to talk to you tonight about what has been my main research interest for the past decade; the issue of homelessness, and what my research into women's homelessness, which I carried out both in the UK and across Europe, has uncovered.

My research has in large part been qualitative and has involved talking to women about sensitive issues. Some of the things that can be forgotten about conducting this type of research is the emotional investment you make as a researcher and of course the impact that this has on you personally.

It's important to set boundaries, but clearly research does have an impact on you when you're doing it, and that side of the process is not always acknowledged in research literature.

Now, I'll be using the words of some of the women I spoke to during my research this evening but I also want to acknowledge that it caused me to think about how women can often be in vulnerable situations and not even realise it themselves, no matter who they are, what their background is or how they've been educated.

For that reason, I want to begin by setting this talk within the context of being a woman in academia.

The slide disappears to reveal a larger image of Kate’s live video.

[Kate] A career that (come the first of January) I will have had for 32 years and it seems relevant to me to combine these two things because I've spent a lot of time studying issues that relate specifically to women and undertaking research with women, this hasn't just uncovered interesting data, it's also caused me as a researcher to reflect upon how that research has affected and changed me and to think about some of the experiences that I have had as a woman in academia over these 32 years.

Let me try to put this in context.

Kate’s live video moves to the right to make space for the slides. A white slide with black, blue and green text shows:

Women in Academia

[Kate] Every March we celebrate international women's day and last week it was the international day for the elimination of violence against women. Moments like these are a good opportunity to reflect on the roles of women in society and in the workplace and how that might have changed over the years. 

Now, if we focus on women in HE specifically the higher education statistics agency reported in 2019 that male professors continue to outnumber females by three to one. Although the number of female professors increased by 1200 in the five years between 2014/15 and the number of males by half that amount.

A recent research paper by Santos reports that women are now not far from reaching the 50% share of all academic and research staff, but they are not even close to reaching such a share at full professorial level.

Using the results of a survey conducted with 2270 responses from academics in all fields of knowledge at 24 Russell group universities, this research found that firstly, being a woman has a negative and significant association with academic rank.

Secondly, the percentage of time spent on teaching and teaching related activities has a negative and statistically significant association with academic rank.

This association is more pronounced in the case of women who spend a higher percentage of their time working on teaching and teaching related activities more than men, as do those in lower academic ranks. Thirdly, women received only two-fifths of the ESRC funding over the period.

Now, the underlying reason for this was the representation of women in senior positions, whilst there was a similar number of men and women in non-professorial social science positions in the UK, less than a quarter of professorial positions were held by women according to data from the higher education statistics agency.

The research councils have published a concordat which includes expectations for both themselves and the institutions that receive their funding to promote diversity and equality, and notably, under Sally Davis, Chief Medical Officer at the National Institute for Health Research, they took bold steps to link eligibility for funding to performance in the Athena Swan programme. But there remain structural impediments.

The slide disappears to reveal a larger image of Kates live video.

[Kate] On the whole, men still do not have the same work life balances or child or parental care responsibilities as women, so unless structural changes are implemented within universities and funding agencies, change will continue to be slow.

Kates live video moves to the right to make space for the slide. A white slide with a graph showing the ESRC research grants (total allocated) by sub-discipline and gender, and black text showing:

ESRC Funding Specifically

Stanley, L. et al (2021) Pluralism and Political Studies in the UK: A Pilot Study into Who Gets What in the Discipline. Political Studies Review. 18 (2) 196-201.

Figure 2. ESRC research grants (total allocated) by sub-discipline and gender.

[Kate] And, in terms of the holy grail of funding, ESRC funding specifically, work by Stanley has shown how ESRC funding is distributed by sub-discipline and gender in the disciplines of politics and international relations.

Now, although this is subject specific, it provides a pretty good snapshot of what is generically going on in academia at the moment, and we know too that female participation in the humanities and social sciences is more significant than in the STEM subjects.

The slide changes to a white background with a black title:

‘Women’s ‘Novel’ Experiences...’

An image in the middle of the slide appears showing orange and brown artwork of a woman with an umbrella walking through what is supposed to be rain. This ‘rain’ contains phrases or words such as ‘don’t get emotional’, ‘female brains just aren’t as logical’ and ‘why are you so moody’.

[Kate] So, we still don't have a totally level playing field and women still have experiences within academia which are probably unique to their gender. Like most of the women I've spoken to who work in this field I have had some... well you might say novel experiences.

For example, after attending an interview at one university many years ago, I received the usual courtesy call from the male professor to tell me that I hadn't been successful, and it went a bit like this,

Slide changes to a white background with two images of females looking confused and black text that shows:

“I’m calling to tell you that you haven’t got the job...

But would you like to have dinner sometime?”

[Kate] "Hi Kate, I'm just calling to tell you that you haven't got the job but would you like to come out for dinner sometime?". Or, having been at one university for some six years, I decided to apply for an internal promotion to Senior Lecturer. Part of that process at that university was to have an initial meeting with the Head of the Faculty, on that occasion it went like this...

Slide changes to a white background with an image of a news article titled ‘Academica needs to confront sexism’ and black text that reads:

“Oh you’ll never get promoted at this University. The problem with you is you’re too cute for your own good, and you’re simply not playing the game.”

[Kate] "Oh, you'll never get promoted at this University. The problem with you is you're too cute for your own good and you're simply not playing the game", and what was the game you might ask? The game was, I wasn't sleeping with any of the other male professors.

Now, unfortunately, these experiences are not uncommon and of course there are things we can do about them but this often entails long, confrontational processes which many women find counterproductive to their careers.

Happily, the majority of experiences I've had in academia have been fruitful ones, and it is to some of these that I shall now turn. And, I do want to say that I've only had happy experiences at Derby.

Slide changes to a white background with an image of a homeless woman crouched on the streets. Within the image is text that reads:

Women rough sleepers in Europe, homelessness and victims of domestic abuse

Also on the slide are three bullet points, one blue, one purple and one green. These read:

(I) Moss, K. & Singh, P. (2013-2015) Children Rough Sleepers and Runaways in 10 European Countries - €1.25 million Funded by the EU Daphne Fund for the European Commission

(ii) Moss, K. & Singh, P. (2014-2016) Empowering Women Rough Sleepers to Protect themselves from Violence on the Street. Funded by the EU Daphne Fund for the European Commission - €766,146

(iii) Moss, K. Singh, P. & Williams, K. (2011-2013) Women Rough Sleepers who are the Victims of Intimate Partner Violence in Europe. Funded by the EU Daphne Fund, for the European - €766,000

[Kate] I've spent many years researching the problem of homelessness and during this time I've spoken to many women who sleep rough across Europe.  And it's taught me a great deal, not least of all that female rough sleeping can happen to anyone; professional women, mothers, students, women in violent relationships.

There really are no stereotypes, it could easily be you, me, or may already be affecting somebody in our network.

Indeed female homelessness may actually turn out to be much closer to home than you imagine. And if this is the case, then the paths into female homelessness are probably all too close to us as well.

Slide changes to a white background with black, green and blue text that reads:

Domestic Abuse as a Precipitator

‘I needed to get out of the house because of sexual abuse by my father. He sexually abused all his daughters including me. I think my mother knew but did nothing about it.’

‘My husband threw me out; he was a drunk. I slept in a cupboard behind the local freezer shop. Psychologically it destroyed me.’

‘Even now I still suffer from depression because of the sleeping rough and the sexual abuse and stuff...I self-harm and have done I’ve damaged myself really.’

[Kate] My research found that one of the major precipitators for this was the experience of domestic abuse. Violence within relationships unfortunately is still very common. And again, women from all walks of life are affected, irrespective of class, race or income.

Domestic abuse knows no social boundaries. Many women don't even define themselves as abused, such is the normalization of psychological or emotional abuse or bullying. Ask yourself honestly if you or anyone you know has ever experienced this and the answer is all too frequently yes.

But perhaps the difference for some of us is that we have friends, family, social networks that we can turn to. For those women who don't, it's often a straight path to the streets.

It's tricky to imagine what it's like to be a female rough sleeper and I can only tell you what other women have told me and what I've got on the screen for you now are some examples from the qualitative interviews that we undertook with female rough sleepers across Europe.

Slide changes to show black text with blue headings reading:

From Hidden Crime to Hidden Homelessness

[Kate] Now, in December 2017 the charity Women's Aid reported that of the 113 women killed in the UK in the previous year, 85 died in their own homes and 9 out of 10 were killed by a current or former partner. Now, of course these are really shocking figures which demonstrate that violence within relationships is extremely common.

The charity St. Mungo's cited a report called rebuilding shattered lives that found that 32% of women they had worked with cited domestic violence as a factor contributing to their homelessness, compared with 8% of men. And they also found with their research that domestic abuse leads to other issues which could in themselves contribute to homelessness, including for example mental health problems.

My research also found that 35% of female or sleepers left their home to escape domestic abuse, this bears out what St.Mungo's found in the previous year but of course, my research was pan-European.

More recently the Crime Survey for England and Wales found that in a survey of 2.3 million adults, 1.6 million women and 757,000 men had experienced domestic abuse.

The slide changes to show white background with an image of a line graph in the middle. This line graph shows the total number of offences (excluding fraud) flagged as domestic abuse-related by month, January 2018 to June 2020, England and Wales (excluding Greater Manchester Police).

Black text on the slide reads:

And the Impact of Covid?

ONS (2020) Increase in offences flagged as DA related from police recorded crime data.

[Kate] Added to that, we now have to figure in the impact of COVID, and according to the Office for National Statistics last year, data sourced from a range of victim services indicates that there was an increase in demand for support for victims of domestic abuse during the pandemic particularly following the easing of lockdown measures.

Now, the official Government position is that we can't conclude whether there has been an increase in the number of victims of domestic abuse, but the data suggests that experiences of domestic abuse may have intensified during the lockdown and that victims face difficulties in safely seeking support under those conditions.

The slide changes to white background and black text that reads:

Women’s Aid’s June 2020 Provider Survey:

Increases to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline

[Kate] The Women's Aid June 2020 provider survey showed that during the first few months of the pandemic there was an increase in demand reported by 58% of 26 refugees, 80% of 30 community-based services, 91% of 22 online support services and 81% of 31 telephone support services.

There were increases in demand for helplines between April and June last year, a 65% increase in calls and contacts to the national domestic abuse helpline compared with the first three months of 2020. And there were also increases in visits to victim service websites, for example, a 700% increase in the number of visits to the domestic abuse helpline website during April to June 2020.

Now, while some of this increase may be driven by victims it might also follow the targeted "you are not alone" media campaign launched in April 2020, which may also have increased the number of people seeking to learn how to spot signs of domestic abuse or how to support victims.

Slide changes to white background and black text that reads:

How Does Domestic Abuse affect Homeless Women?

“For women without social networks, the only escape may be the street where they become all but invisible. With a couple of exceptions there are few studies which look specifically at the distinct issue of women’s homelessness and how that is often shaped by their relationships in the home and their experiences of domestic abuse. Added to this, current statutory definitions of homelessness and rough sleeping contain no gender aspect to them. So the distinct problems that homeless women face are not highlighted.”

Moss, K. & Singh, P. (2015) Women Rough Sleepers in Europe: Homelessness and Victims of Domestic Violence, Bristol: Policy Press.

[Kate] So how does domestic abuse affect homeless women? And what are the links here between what essentially is still a hidden crime and homelessness for women, which I'm going to explain to you as another hidden problem.

Domestic abuse is a devastating crime people that suffer from this are also at significant risk of isolation, financial deprivation and of course homelessness. It's estimated that 1.9 million adults aged 16 to 59 experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2017. Of the cases recorded, 46% were sexual violence or violence against a person.

And, as I said a moment ago, for women with secure social networks finding a solution may be traumatic and it may be very difficult, but they are the people who may have help to resolve their situation, they may be able to get help or advice to remove a partner from a tenancy, perhaps to secure a non-molestation or occupation order.

But it's the women without those social networks for whom the only escape may be the street and it's there that they become all but invisible.

Now, with a couple of exceptions, there are very few studies which looks specifically at the distinct issue of women's homelessness and how that is often shaped by their relationships in the home and their experiences of domestic abuse.

Added to this, current statutory definitions of homelessness and rough sleeping contain absolutely no gender aspect to them, so the distinct problems that homeless women face are not highlighted.

What does this actually tell us? Well, I feel that it indicates there are significant and important links to be made between female homelessness and the female experience of domestic abuse. Both these phenomena are arguably invisible and the fact that one invisible issue appears to lead to an outcome for many women that is also invisible is, I think, somewhat ironic.

And it's against this background that I just want briefly to ask two questions in relation to what I perceive as a crisis of hidden female homelessness, and these are; why is women's homelessness hidden? And secondly, what can be done about it?

The slide changes to a white background with an image of a pie chart that shows the places that homeless women hide in, such as 9% in a park, 4% in doorways and 1% in someones private garden.

The slide also has a black text heading that reads:

Why is Women’s Homelessness Hidden?

Moss & Singh (2015)

[Kate] So, to address the first point, within my research generically what links all of the women I've talked to in the course of my research is the invisibility of that experience.

Homeless women don't appear in the places where homeless counts are done, neither do they routinely engage with street outreach services so they're simply not included in any of the formal statistics that claim to show the scale of the homelessness problem.

More often than not, the homeless woman's solution is to sofa surf or to go home with a man to get a bed for the night in return for sexual favours, irrespective of the potential danger. Otherwise, as we can see from this slide here, nights will typically be spent in a range of other very unsuitable places. Inappropriate relationships will be formed in these places for safety and for company and also out of sheer vulnerability.

So, I just want to mention now two of the main reasons why I feel women's homelessness is invisible and what impact this has on the women experiencing it.

The slide changes to a white background with and image of an old white lady with white hair who is homeless and wearing winter-suitable clothes. She is holding a cardboard sign with ‘I used to be someone’ written on it. Black text at the top of the slide reads:

Homeless Counts and Statistics are not Accurate

Statistics suggest reduction in applications for priority need based on domestic abuse. This is not the case however...

[Kate] Currently, Government statistics and live tables include local authority homeless quarterly returns. DCLG moved fairly recently to a system called Delta, which is a new online system designed to collect these statistics and this information into a central location.

Now, whilst official data is important of course, the reality of this data does depend on the current definitions of homelessness that are being applied and how the homeless counting is in fact being carried out.

We need to overlay these official statistics with other data sets and consider comparing them. Data sets provided for example by Chain, Homeless Link, Crisis, Shelter, the London Housing Foundation, and charities and NGO's. That data tends to say quite different things and it's important to understand how these differences occur and how differing measurements of women's homelessness are carried out.

Accessing a variety of sources is the only way we can take account of the true extent of women's rough sleeping and homelessness, so the result of this is at the moment we still have an incomplete picture but that's not new. Homeless charities such as Shelter and Crisis have long argued that the official statistics do not paint a full picture of homelessness in England and Wales.

The slide changes to a white background with images of logos of Gumtree which is purple with preen tree outline, craigslist which has the name in pink, and SpareRoom which has a blue name and a small outline of a house to the left.

The text at the top of the slide is black and blue, that reads:

Women’s Homelessness Plays Out in Other Invisible Ways...

Sex work, sexual exploitation and sex for rent

[Kate] Now, the second reason for the invisibility of women's homelessness that I want to comment on is that women's homelessness plays out in other invisible ways.

In addition to the general predictors of homelessness and influences on rough sleeping there are quite specific risks for women who sleep rough that are more acute than for men in the same situation. These include involvement in sex work, mental health issues and substance abuse. Now, this evening due to the constraints of time I'm going to just mention the first of these and that's sex work and sexual exploitation and sex for rent.

Now, involvement in sex work and being at risk of sexual exploitation are much more common for women rough sleepers than for men but the ways in which those risks arise around women rough sleepers sexual behaviour are not terribly clear-cut and they don't always follow a one-way trajectory.

They're enmeshed in complex social worlds that involve the constant negotiation of risk and need. I've already mentioned that homeless women inhabit invisible spaces using strategies like sofa surfing, but the use of those strategies to reduce certain risks can actually open up new avenues of risks such as exchanging sexual acts for a place to sleep.

Now, these are discussed in some of the literature on homeless women and my own research highlighted that the risk of women rough sleep is becoming exposed to sexual violence and exploitation as a result of these strategies should become a priority area of policy focus. It just isn't at the moment.

Other academics report that as a masculinist space the street presents a variety of dangers to homeless women in which their involvement in sex work can be both a consequence of this, as well as a part of a complex survival strategy that they actually develop in order to avoid other forms of criminal victimisation.

Now, this type of activity is on the whole invisible because of course, it takes place in private spaces. Much more recently acknowledged is the phenomenon of sex for rent which is also all but invisible; the homeless support charity Shelter reports that 28% of females who find themselves sleeping rough have had unwanted sex to get a bed for the night and unfortunately this often plays out now through ads and listings for accommodation on media sites such as Craigslist, Gumtree and Spare Room, where free accommodation can be offered in exchange for sex. Let's now look at some examples that have actually been live on some of these sites.

The slide changes to white background with black text that reads:

“Please send a recent picture with reply that would make me want to pick you (at the very least topless). This is necessary because of fakes and time-wasters. Sorry. NO PICTURE, NO ANSWER. Thanks.”


[Kate] "Please send a recent picture with reply that would make me want to pick you. At the very least topless. This is necessary because of fakes and time wasters. Sorry, no picture no answer."

The slide changes to white background and blue text that reads:

“Hi ladies, temporary private room available to stay for free. Why do you want to pay hotel prices in London, £150 a night, when you can stay in my place for free? Just be good to me.”


[Kate] "Hi ladies, temporary private room available to stay for free. Why do you want to pay hotel prices in London (£150 a night)? When you can stay in my place for free. Just be good to me."

The slide changes to white background and green text that reads:

“Offering to share my one-bedroom flat with female. You will not pay rent or bills, we will look at coming to a mutually beneficial agreement that is suitable for us. Would suit a student wanting to study in Manchester.”


[Kate] "Offering to share my one bedroom flat with female. You will not pay rental bills. We will look at coming to a mutually beneficial agreement that is suitable for us. Would suit a student wanting to study in Manchester”

The slide changes to white background and black text reads:

“Available immediately – spare room with en suite or room-share for girl (or two) to rent totally free if offering fun and naughty times in return. Provide pictures and age.”


[Kate] And finally "Available immediately - spare room with ensuite or room share for girl or two to rent totally free if offering fun and naughty times in return. Provide pictures and age"

Now, for vulnerable women these are quite clearly exploitative advertisements; the act of soliciting sex on a public forum is of course illegal but these listings seem to slip through the net on a regular basis and it's often the case that the police have neither the time nor the resources to investigate them.

Another problem for me is that consent lies at the heart of every rape and sexual assault incident, and according to the sexual offences act, consent is given only when a person has the freedom and capacity to make that choice. The question I would ask is are the most vulnerable women in society really free to make those choices?

Additionally, these types of living arrangements are facilitated by people knowing that they can exploit the housing crisis. Now, there is an argument to say that some people may enter an arrangement like this and feel perfectly happy with it, but that aside you still have no capacity for setting boundaries, and how do you police that? You can't.

A woman may initially agree to her landlord's terms, maybe out of sheer desperation and then find herself trapped, not only economically, but mentally and physically too; and pressurized into acts that she's uncomfortable with.

Homeless women who may have been the victims of domestic violence or have substance abuse or mental health issues are the obvious category likely to respond to this type of advertisement. It's definitely a gender-based problem, targeting those who are already vulnerable.

The slide changes to a white background with black, green and blue text that reads:

So what can be done?

Provision of Appropriate Homeless Services for Women

“Women tend to enter homelessness and other support services at a later stage than men, when their problems have escalated significantly and they are less ready to begin their recovery journey.”

St Mungo’s, Rebuilding Shattered Lives: Final Report, March 2014

[Kate] So what can be done? Well, there's a pressing need for more provision of appropriate homeless services for women. These sorts of services do exist of course but there are simply not enough women's refuges and hostels, and there's a huge shortage of female key workers.

Some women just won't talk to a male key worker because of their experiences of domestic abuse. Other women choose not to go into hostels because they're mixed or even because they're asked to prove that they've been abused, how on earth are you supposed to do that?

The slide changes to white background and black and blue text that reads:

“Women with mental health and substance use problems can face barriers to accessing refuge services and LGBTQ and disabled survivors are often unable to find refuges which cater to their specific needs.”

All-Party Parliamentary Group for Ending Homelessness, Homelessness Prevention for Care Leavers, Prison Leavers and Survivors of Domestic Violence (July 2017: Report 1)

“One in four referrals were declined due to lack of space.”

Women’s Aid (2016) Meeting the Needs of Women and Children: Findings of the Women’s Aid Annual Survey

[Kate] Critically, for women fleeing domestic abuse the funding for specialist services that provide support are still being cut. So, many vulnerable women do not get the assistance they need with housing due to cuts in vital services; and this also needs to be thought through by policymakers before further welfare reforms disproportionately penalize some of the most vulnerable women in our society.

The slide changes to white background and black text that reads:

What Else Would Help?

[Kate] But what else would help? Well, the government pledged a new radical approach to tackling homelessness with the introduction of the homeless reduction act which came into force in April 2018.

This and a new consultation document called "Transforming the response to domestic abuse" placed new duties on local authorities to prevent and relieve homelessness with a greater emphasis on carrying out detailed assessments and providing personalized plans for applicants.

In light of this, it remains very important to try to review a number of things. Firstly, what percentage of women are applying as homeless on the grounds of domestic abuse? Second, what ongoing issues are there with official Government statistics which do not include the hidden homeless? And thirdly, what about issues of gatekeeping? That is, wrongly turning away applicants without a proper assessment.

The slide changes to a white background with an image of a grey rectangle with the channel four logo inside and the word ‘Dispatches’ to the left of the logo. Underneath the image is a hyperlink to the Channel Four documentary. Black text at the top of the slide reads:

“Gatekeeping: Britain’s Homeless Scandal”

Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ February 2017

[Kate] In February 2017 a channel 4 undercover report from dispatches found that in many instances women applicants were being wrongly turned away without being fully assessed and were prevented from making a homelessness application at all. And this was despite those women presenting with an array of really serious problems including; mental health issues, learning difficulties or fleeing domestic abuse.

The documentary used undercover filming and found out that of 15 approaches to the local authority only four women were offered emergency accommodation and 11 women, on the face of it, were wrongly turned away.

Access to justice for such women is also an under-researched area, with women who are the victims of domestic abuse experiencing great difficulties in obtaining good legal advice due to advice deserts in some parts of the country, because many law firms no longer do that sort of work. And that again is compounded by cuts in specialist housing advice services for women.

The slide changes to a white background with text that reads:

Solutions? A Gender Informed Approach

'One size doesn’t fit all'

“We know from [this] research that poverty, violence/abuse in childhood, intimate partner violence and imprisonment and motherhood all influence women’s journeys into, through and out of homelessness.”

AM Halfpenny et al (2001) Children of Homeless Mothers, Dublin: Children’s Research Centre pp23.

Feantsa (2005) Ethos: European Typology of Homelessness and Housing Exclusion

[Kate] The lack of a gendered approach to homelessness means that homelessness definitions and housing policies are all generic and they assume that most homeless people are men and that all homeless people (and all homeless women) have the same problems. This has arguably led to a "one-size-fits-all" approach which really doesn't allow for the complexity of women's experiences that lead them into homelessness.

Statutory definitions and current policies just don't recognize gender-specific dimensions to homelessness and there's no express recognition of domestic abuse.

So, homeless policies ought to reflect the complex conditions of homeless women's lives. The leading EU homeless charity Feantsa have already conceptualized their definitions of homelessness as being a continuum, with people who are sleeping rough at one end and those who are stably housed at the other. And to do this they adopted a much broader definition, allowing room to consider who might fall within either extreme and this is called "The European ethos typology of homelessness". In the UK we could certainly learn a lot from this.

What underpins all of this is the real need to establish a more comprehensive understanding that homelessness is caused by a complex interrelation of societal and individual factors, occurring in certain circumstances to certain people.

One of the problems of course is that certain attitudes prevail in relation to the homeless. People have often said to me "well, lots of people have problems but they don't all end up homeless do they?" Yes that's true but homelessness for some people occurs in a context where they may be excluded from accessing the necessary resources that they need to cope with the challenging events that we all face in life.

The slide changes to a white background with black, blue and green text reading:

Gendered Ideologies Don’t Help

“The conceptualisation of female harm is a continuum where opportunities and vulnerabilities are shaped by gender and social expectations and where women who don’t conform are either abnormal, deviant, eccentric or fallen.”

“Female homelessness may be out of sight, it certainly needn’t be out of mind.”

[Kate] Gendered ideologies have also traditionally placed women in the home, whereas male homelessness has not necessarily been seen as wholly deviant, because of the gendering of women, homelessness for them has often been viewed as a transgression of societal norms.

Consequently, women who are classed as "out of the home" have been perceived as abnormal, deviant, eccentric or as fallen women in need of saving. The tendency of this type of stereotyping to dominate ideologies of gender roles has ultimately led to the marginalization and stigmatizing of women who do not conform to this. Crucially, it negates the possibility of acknowledging the idea that the home itself can actually be a site of oppression for many women and what can ultimately lead them to the street.

The slide changes to a white background using the same image as the first slide of Friar Gate Campus, with black text that reads:

‘Future Research?’

[Kate] So what about the future? One of the most compelling issues for me over the last decade of conducting research into homelessness has been the notion of hidden homelessness and the realization that this social problem is greater and affects many more diverse populations than we might imagine, and this is where my research now takes me.

A new slide is shown with a white background and an image on the right of the University of Derbys football ground at night, with a street lamp on and players in the distance. Black text on the left of the image reads:

Homeless in HE: A Study of the Nature and Prevalence of Student Homelessness in Higher Education at one British University.

Supported by British Academy/Leverhulme Grant SRG\171041

[Kate] A two-year study that I recently carried out (funded by the British Academy) into hidden homelessness amongst a sample of students in one midlands university, highlighted that homelessness was a significant but unacknowledged issue that students were dealing with.

The slide changes to show a white background with an image of a horizontal bar chart that shows where University students who self-identify as homeless stay at night. The black text at the top of the slide reads:

Where did you stay at night?

[Kate] Amongst a sample of students asked to self-identify as having experienced homelessness in one university faculty, I find that periods of home insecurity lasted anywhere between two weeks and 12 months. Causal factors for this included family breakdown, family disruption, domestic abuse and eviction. Students spent homeless nights walking the street, sofa surfing, in train stations, bus shelters, in the car, in derelict buildings, in the park and of course, in the university library.

A number of female students divulged to me that they had exchanged sexual favours for a bed for the night and although friends helped a third of students in my sample, generally, in terms of sofa surfing, a further third was simply not helped by anyone.

A new slide appears with a white background and three images of graphs. The first graph is a pie chart is titled ‘What impact has homelessness had on your university studies/relationships?’. The biggest section was a study impact.

The second graph is titled ‘Did you ask anyone for help and support at the university?’. 13 students selected the answer of ‘No, I didn’t want to’.

The third graph is titled ‘When you were homeless, who helped you?’. 9 students answered ‘Friend’.

[Kate] Now, none of these students had admitted this to the university before, they said they were too embarrassed, ashamed... they were fearful of being labelled. All of them felt that the biggest impact of their homelessness was on their ability to focus on their academic work and to engage with other aspects of university life. And as always their words are so much better than mine.

The slide changes to a white background with black text that reads:

“I hid in the general student population so no one knew I was homeless. I would use public toilets and I went to the swimming baths to have a shower. It didn’t occur to me to go to a shelter or refuge – I wouldn’t even know where they were. It’s not as if you ever think you’ll be homeless and need help. You don’t plan what you’ll do if you end up homeless.”

[Kate] "I hid in the general student population so no one knew I was homeless. I'd use public toilets and I went to the swimming baths to have a shower. It didn't occur to me to go to a shelter or refuge, I wouldn't even know where they were. It's not as if you ever think you'll be homeless and need help. You don't plan what you'll do if you end up homeless"

Now, current policies regarding higher student fees and the recruitment of students from more diverse backgrounds who arguably might be ill-equipped for study at university level or who perhaps don't have the necessary support, as either a domestic or institution level, may be resulting in students experiencing homelessness and this in turn impacts upon their chances of progression and retention and all the attendant problems associated with that. And higher education institutions ought to be worried about this.

It also raises questions for me about how far our understandings of homelessness have moved on, or maybe they haven't?

The slide changes to a white background with black text that reads:

Understanding Homelessness Better

[Kate] There are other important questions surrounding inequalities in society – including gender, cultural and ethnic – which can impact the nature of homelessness

Whilst it's true that some understandings of homelessness have moved away from taxonomic, structuralist and pathological explanations; Changes still remain in recognizing individual agency and the importance of the context of homelessness.

There's still a need to challenge preconceptions that homelessness should necessarily be equated with disempowerment and I've commented before that homelessness can happen to anyone, but it seems that preconceptions still exist in relation to who becomes homeless and why. The way we situate homelessness within a broader social context is really critically important.

There are other important questions surrounding inequalities in society which can impact the nature of homelessness...and I'd like, in future research on this (if I get funded), to challenge the traditionalist conceptions of homelessness by focusing not just on the nature and experience of homelessness as it affects higher education students, but also on the context of student homelessness and whether inequalities in the student population are inadvertently producing this social phenomenon.

There's a pressing need for any data from such a study to determine exactly what is going on here and to ask a number of questions. I mean, are universities inadvertently alienating some students? Does this lead to homeless careers? Are there indications that more recent university entrants who come from less traditional backgrounds might be less well equipped for university life? Might have less able social networks capable of supporting them and might thus be more vulnerable to potential homelessness.

We know that social structures shape behaviour and that individuals with advantage have more opportunities and vice versa. Inequality is cumulative over an individual's lifetime and is carried on from one generation to the next. 

For these reasons, I think it will be important for any future research in this area to consider how theories of cumulative disadvantage and inequality can be used to explain the potential life course trajectories of HE students and how this plays out in terms of their experiences during their time at university.

Now, the modest pilot study that I've already carried out suggested to me that a more ambitious study of the issue is warranted, and so for this reason the immediate future for my research is to try to persuade the Economic and Social Research Council (drawing on the findings of my pilot study) to fund me to carry out a comparative survey of student homelessness in all 165 UK universities.

The slide changes to show an image of ten human figures standing in a line: nine male shaped figures in black and one female shaped figure in red.

[Kate] At least, I'm going to try very hard to get a portion of the two-fifths of the SRC funding that currently goes to women in the arts and humanities.

The slide changes to the final slide which is an image of Derby from a viewpoint. The top right corner contains the address, contact details and social media accounts of the University of Derby in white. The top left corner contains an image of the University of Derby hills logo in white. White text in the middle of the image reads:

‘Thank you’

[Kate] Many thanks for your patience and for listening to me this evening and please do ask me any questions if you have them.

The slide and Kates live webcam video disappears, and Paul Lynch’s live video webcam appears.

[Paul] Thank you very much indeed Kate. A phenomenally thought-provoking presentation. Not surprisingly there's quite a lot of questions and comments based on what you've been talking about, and I think it's also worth sharing a bit more of the comments which I think I want to share with the audience based on the significance of what she's been saying.

There's one from an anonymous person "I had a vulnerable teen girl sofa surfing in my home for two years on and off. I tried to make this normal and as not embarrassing for her as possible. I ended up hosting a few teen parties in tents in my garden to normalise her situation. She's studying chemistry at a university now".

What you've talked about tonight has obviously resonated hugely with colleagues and thank you very much for that, it's really made it a very significant inaugural lecture. So, looking at some of the questions now just scrolling... One question "Wondering if increased social isolation and domestic abuse correlates, perhaps women find themselves losing their social networks as domestic abuse escalates?"

Pauls live webcam video disappears, and Kate’s live video webcam appears.

[Kate] Okay, sorry about that slight delay there as I was unmuting.

Yes, I think that's absolutely the case. The pandemic and the effects that it has had on issues like domestic abuse and homelessness remain to be seen fully, obviously. Interestingly, some types of domestic abuse will have reduced during the lockdowns that we had. Those types of abuse that will have reduced will be the types where people are not living in close proximity or not living with partners and they will have gained some respite from domestic abuse because of the inability to socialise.

However, on the other hand we will have seen (and I think there's already been some research done on this) an escalation in instances of domestic abuse amongst people who are living together obviously because lockdowns have thrown people together, more intensely, without being able to go to work or to pursue other social issues as they would do in their normal lives. So, from that point of view it will have had a dual effect on people depending on what their personal situations will be.

And, to get back to the question related to that, yes, I think it will have socially isolated many, many women a lot more and that is a really bad thing and I think we need to look to the research of the future and a lot of the covid related research that will be coming out in due course to see the exact impact of that.

Kates live webcam video disappears, and Pauls live video webcam appears.

[Paul] Thank you Kate. Another question is asking..."How does ethnic and or cultural background influence the situation as well as gender?"

Pauls live webcam video disappears, and Kates live video webcam appears.

[Kate] That's a really good question. This is something that my research did not tackle and I have said ever since doing it that this is an issue that needs to be investigated more closely. There are particular issues involved with domestic abuse and homelessness relating to different ethnic and minority populations about which there is as yet very, very little research.

Within my research particularly, I did have within my sample, women from other ethnic minorities and their experiences of domestic abuse and homelessness were quite distinct to them. But, because my research didn't focus on that aspect or on that population specifically, I can't draw any conclusions from that and nor can I generalise it to a wider population.

But at the moment, I am (funnily enough), along with a couple of colleagues at Derby, Jess Egan and Charlotte Fletcher Morgan, we're working now very quickly on a bid to a fund managed by Comic Relief which is looking specifically at support services for black and ethnic minority women who are victims of abuse. And obviously, if we are fortunate enough to be successful in securing that piece of funding, we will be able to find out a lot more about exactly that issue.

Kates live webcam video disappears, and Pauls live video webcam appears.

[Paul] Thank you Kate. Another question. "The domestic abuse act 2020 made local authorities responsible or required to provide safeguarding. Has this improved homelessness in women at all?"

Pauls live webcam video disappears, and Paul Kates live video webcam appears.

[Kate] Well, I think it's too early to say and to be brutally honest with you I haven't seen any research that's been done on that. The problem is that when we get a new piece of legislation it does take some time for the effects to filter through and it also takes time for somebody to decide to do a piece of research specifically on that and to get some results. So, with regard to that, it may well be the case, but I think at the moment it's early days and it's a case of "watch this space".

Kates live webcam video disappears, and Paul’s live video webcam appears.

[Paul] Okay there's a lot of... We will let you have these comments, there's a lot of people commenting very positively about your lecture and how significant they found it and how it's really sort of affected them. One other question here "Can UK Higher Education institutions provide accommodation for homeless students via the halls of residence?" Do you think there's options around that?

Pauls live webcam video disappears, and Kates live video webcam appears.

[Kate] Well again, this is a this is a massively under researched area. I did a very, very small study at a previous university and it had a very small sample, it was from one faculty and the students that self-identified from that study as having had those experiences hadn't even told the University that that was the case. Nobody knew, the University didn't know. And actually, when I presented the findings of that research to that University (it was my previous university - Wolverhampton) they were incredibly interested in it, exceptionally motivated and they immediately put in place a specific role for a personal tutor for all new entrants to the University and they decided within that role that they were going to ask questions that were very specific to student’s accommodation needs and they were going to repeat that through the course of the student’s stay at University over all three years. So, they did act on it very quickly.

What they could do with student accommodation I'm not sure, because that would be for each university to decide. It might be possible in term time if there are spaces, but would there be spaces? Out of term time perhaps it might be slightly more possible but again, until we do a national study of this in all 165 universities, it's impossible to tell the extent of the problem but I think it is much more significant than we possibly believe, and it again comes back to this idea that it's a very hidden problem, students are not divulging it.

The reason that I decided to do this study was that I had anecdotal evidence of it as a tutor. Students that I was teaching and that I was a personal tutor for had come to me and said they were experiencing problems and I had them to sign post them to appropriate services and to welfare support. And, talking to other colleagues at Wolverhampton then, they had similar experiences and I'm sure that colleagues at Derby will have had these experiences but we're not collating them and we're not sharing them, and we simply don't know the extent of it, and we need to understand that better so that Higher Education Institutions can respond appropriately, and I think...I don't think actually, I know that higher education institutions would want to respond to that and to put something in place.

Kates live webcam video disappears, and Pauls live video webcam appears.

[Paul] Absolutely Kate, I'm sure of the question, certainly for Derby. One final question. The question is wondering whether or not you've done any research on the impact of homelessness on...on children.

Pauls live webcam video disappears, and Kates live video webcam appears.

[Kate] Yes, in actual fact one of my three European Commission projects was about children, rough sleepers and homelessness and I did that again in the UK and in several countries in Europe. I wrote a chapter in a book about that with my colleague Pramjit Singh from Wolverhampton. So, if anybody would like to read about that they can contact me and I will give them the link to that or I may actually have a secret copy of that somewhere.

It was a big project, and I haven't probably got a lot of time tonight to talk about that, but again that was a very significant problem, both in the UK and across Europe. There were much more diverse populations of homeless young people and children across Europe, and it is a very, very complex issue indeed. But, you know, maybe I could talk more about that on another occasion?

Kates live webcam video disappears, and Pauls live video webcam appears.

[Paul] I think if we maybe look at the opportunity for a research seminar or something to follow this up Kate. Before I hand over to Kamil to give you Thanks, I think I should share a comment from one of the audience.

To quote, "I was homeless for a few years and it's great to hear something is being done behind the scenes to help women in similar positions. Most women really don't have any idea that so many people care or that this type of research is ongoing. After coming back into education at a local college, then studying a degree, I just can't imagine how I would have been able to study while homeless". I think your lecture has uniquely hit a feeling, an area of concern tonight. So thank you very much indeed Kate. Can I now hand over to Kamil to give the formal vote of thanks, Kamil.

Pauls live webcam video disappears, and Kamils live video webcam appears.

[Kamil] Thank you, Kate for that beautiful presentation. I can't attempt to summarise it, because it's so powerful. You started by tracing the inequality within society, situating it within the academia, drawing upon your personal experience as a young academic trying to climb through the ladder.

And you gave us some current statistics which is really stark. Having less than a quarter of female professors in the Higher Education sector and we are still having problems in terms of leadership as well.

Then, you use that as a then launch into women's experiences generally, and then in relation to homelessness.

You've identified domestic abuse as a major precipitating factor and you have asserted, through your research, that 35% of women became homeless because of domestic violence, which is really noble in social research within the UK and Europe.

And you've brought in the COVID factor which has really aggravated the situation and you have explored the mediating role of right social network in this whole intersection between homelessness and domestic violence. You've then offered some solutions, which really, I believe are powerful and a lot has to be done by the Government.

A provision of appropriate homeless services for women, effective statutory approaches and you came up with a gendered informed approach which will really broaden the statutory definition of homelessness, homelessness policies and the gendered ideologies which really don't help. That is, how do we understand it in the appropriate context?

There was a powerful quote which you used, "Female homelessness maybe out of sight, it certainly needn't be out of mind”, because that's the lever by which every action of human endeavour is based, and you used this to now articulate the future direction of your research and you've done some pilot studies on Higher Education which is really, really close to my heart. And you've explored the impact of homelessness in Higher Education on continuation, progression, attainment, as well as the outcome - and how could the universities rise up to this occasion.

Thank you very much. To my mind you've combined skills acquired in your degrees in law, criminology and social policy to carve a niche for yourself in social research. You've been effective in the use of triangulation between primary and secondary data to draw a meaningful conclusion for your studies. You've adopted a qualitative approach which to my mind, is very suitable for researching the phenomena around your research areas and they are very key in solving central problems within our society.

Many thanks for your impactful research and your excellent and eloquent presentation.

For every successful individual at the level of Kate's many people will have contributed along the way, so I want to see this opportunity to thank all those professors under which you have learned (some of whom I believe are on this call), all your former colleagues across all those four institutions that you have been to and I'm a living witness to the fact that you are collaborating very well with some of our colleagues at the University of Derby. I thank them as well for welcoming you to Derby and for making a difference in your experience as one of our key professors.

Last but not the least, your family that have been with you, they are rock, and I think you have mentioned them earlier on. Nobody attains this level without some sense of sacrifice from the loved ones, family and friends. On behalf of Kate as well as the university we appreciate you all and we thank you.

Finally, for those of you who have made it a point of duty to attend, many of you I’m aware wanted to be at Derby in person like myself with our gowns already prepared for us but the situation prevented us from doing that. Yet, you still joined us on this call. Thank you all for sacrificing your time to support one of ours.

Professor Kate Moss, thank you.

Kamils live video disappears, and a blue screen is presented with the University of Derby’s 3 hills logo in the middle of the screen, in white.

Professorial Inaugural Lecture Series: Professor Kate Moss video

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