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Danger Zones and Funding Reforms
By Daniel Dumoulin - 9 April 2018
Policy and Public Affairs Manager Daniel Dumoulin writes about our latest report and the funding reforms threatening the wellbeing of the young people Depaul UK works with.
Depaul UK’s new report, Danger Zones and Stepping Stones: Phase 2, reveals just how dangerous homelessness is for young people. Based on a survey of more than 700 people in contact with youth homelessness services across England, it shows that over half of “hidden” homeless people aged 16 to 25 experience harm:
- 29 percent suffer mental or emotional abuse
- 28 percent experience physical assault or abuse
- 25 percent are pressured into drinking alcohol or taking drugs
- 12 are sexually abused or exploited
- 36 percent have their property stolen or damaged
Shockingly, around one fifth of young women are sexually abused or exploited while out of stable accommodation.
The report also finds that young people who identify as LGBT are more likely to leave home because they are abused, sometimes by their parents. Unfortunately it’s still the case that some parents would rather see their children without stable accommodation than accept their sexuality or gender.
If you’re fleeing abuse you might be so desperate to get away that you put yourself in other potentially harmful situations. This might help explain why one in four of the LGBT young people surveyed had engaged in sexual activity in exchange for a place to stay.
The research shows that service-provided accommodation, including supported accommodation, is safer than many informal arrangements like staying with strangers or friends of friends.
Although more needs to be done to make supported accommodation projects safer, the findings suggest that these projects prevent young people from being abused.
Unfortunately, the Government is proposing funding reforms that could lead to existing projects being closed and fewer desperately needed new projects being built.
More young people who are homeless will be harmed if the Government goes ahead with these reforms.
The good news is that Depaul UK is not alone in recognising that the harm to which young homeless people are exposed is unacceptable. MPs, advisers to the Prime Minister, funders and frontline charities have been in touch about the report.
Depaul UK will make sure its findings are acted on. All young people should have somewhere safe to sleep.
Depaul UK is committed to taking a wider role in civil society. Our policy team is working hard to influence structural change and ensure that the young people we work with have a voice. It is important work that we can’t carry out without your support. Click here to donate, or read our latest news.