Dr Kate Brown

BA (Sheffield) MA (Leeds) PhD (Leeds)

  • Lecturer in Social Policy and Crime
  • Chair of the Board of Studies (Criminology)

Visit Dr Kate Brown's profile on the York Research Database to see a full list of publications and browse her research related activities.


Areas of expertise

  • Vulnerability and social control
  • Young people seen as vulnerable and /or deviant 
  • The sex industry

Academic biography

My research explores how vulnerability is experienced, understood and addressed through welfare and criminal justice interventions. I am especially interested in how behavioural regulation shapes the lives of those seen as ‘vulnerable’. Groups I have researched and written about so far have included sexually exploited young women, young men served with Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, vulnerable young people and also sex workers. My book Vulnerability and Young People: Care and Social Control in Policy and Practice was published by the Policy Press in 2015.

Before studying for my PhD I worked in the voluntary sector for nearly ten years, in services for groups who tend to be considered vulnerable or 'problematic'. This experience had a strong influence on my research interests. I worked first as a support worker for sex workers and sexually exploited young people, then for The Children's Society, co-ordinating a national campaign to involve young people with experience of sexual exploitation in policy-making related to this. In 2005, I moved to Leeds to work for Turning Point as Team Leader at a young people’s drugs service and then moved on to Leeds Women's Aid, managing community and family domestic violence services.

Since 2001 I have continued to maintain an interest in research, policy and practice related to the sex trade and sexual exploitation. From 2014-2016, I was research lead on Leeds City Council's Prostitution Strategic Partnership, and research I conducted informed the development of the managed approach to street sex work in Leeds. I am Chair of Trustees for Basis Yorkshire, a fantastic and innovative charity which supports sex workers and sexually exploited children, and I also deliver street outreach sessions to support women selling sex in Leeds. My latest project is a co-production project with Basis, working with young people with experience of child sexual exploitation (CSE) and an artist to produce a research-informed set of resources about moving on from CSE. 

PhD supervision

Supervision interests:

  • vulnerable and ‘troublesome’ young people;
  • social control and regulatory welfare;
  • the concept of vulnerability;
  • child sexual exploitation;
  • the sex industry;
  • qualitative research methods with ‘hard to reach’ groups.


  • Introducing Sociology and Social Psychology (First Year Undergraduate) 
  • Vulnerability, Deviance and Social Control (Third Year Undergraduate)
  • Youth Justice (Third Year Undergraduate)



Brown, K. (forthcoming 2017) ‘The Governance of Vulnerability:  Regulation, support and social divisions in action’, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy.

Brown, K. and Sanders, T. (forthcoming 2017) ‘Pragmatic, progressive, problematic: Addressing vulnerability through a local street sex work partnership initiative’, Social Policy and Society.

Brown, K., Ecclestone, K. and Emmel, N. (forthcoming 2017) ‘The Many Faces of Vulnerability’, Social Policy and Society.

Brown, K. (2015) Vulnerability and Young People: Care and Social Control in Policy and Practice. Bristol: The Policy Press. Further details.

Brown, K. (2014) 'Questioning the Vulnerability Zeitgeist: Care and control practices with ‘vulnerable’ young people', Social Policy and Society. Available online.

Brown, K. (2014) 'Beyond Protection: 'The vulnerable' in the age of austerity' in Harrison, M. and Sanders, T. (eds) Social Policies and Social Control: New Perspectives on the Not-so- Big Society. Policy Press.

Brown, K.and Moore, J. (2014) Prostitution in Leeds: Preliminary Scoping Research, University of York and Safer Leeds. Research conducted for Leeds Prostitution Strategic Partnership. Research key findings. Executive Summary (PDF  , 419kb)

Brown, K. (2012) 'Re-moralising ‘Vulnerability’', People, Place and Policy Online, 6 (1): 41-53. Available online.

Brown, K. and Patrick, R. (2012) 'Re-moralising or De-moralising? The Coalition government’s approach to ‘problematic’ populations: editorial', People, Place and Policy Online, 6 (1): 1-2. Available online.

Patrick, R., Brown, K. and Drever, E. (2011) The current and future state of Social Policy teaching in UK Higher Education Institutions(HEIs), report published online by the Social Policy Association. Available online [PDF].

Brown, K. (2011) ‘‘Vulnerability’: Handle with Care’, Journal of Ethics and Social Welfare, 5 (3): 313-321.

Brown, K. (2011) ‘Beyond Badges of Honour: Young People’s Perceptions of their Anti-Social Behaviour Orders’, People, Place and Policy Online, 5 (1): 12-24. Available online.

Brown, K. (2006) ‘Participation and Young People Involved in Prostitution’, Child Abuse Review, 15 (2): 294-312.

Dr Kate Brown‌‌

Contact details

Dr Kate Brown
Lecturer in Social Policy

Tel: 01904 32 1241

Vulnerability and young people, kate brown, policy press 2016‌‌ 

Brown, K. (2016) Vulnerability & Young People: Care & social control in policy & practice,Policy Press