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Report: Dangers of youth homelessness
March 20th, 2018
As rough sleeping rises sharply, the Government must reconsider planned changes to supported accommodation to keep young people safe, says charity
Around one fifth of young women have been sexually abused or exploited while out of stable accommodation, new research by homelessness charity Depaul UK reveals today (Thursday, 22 March).
And one in four LGBT young people surveyed by the charity had engaged in sexual activity in exchange for a place to stay, according to the new Danger Zones and Stepping Stones report. The shocking findings come as the Government today releases its latest homelessness statistics.
Depaul UK surveyed more than 700 young people, aged from 16 to 25, who are using homelessness services across England. The research found that young homeless people routinely suffer physical and sexual abuse and other harm in temporary living arrangements.
More than half (55 percent) of those surveyed had been harmed with:
- 29 percent suffering mental or emotional abuse,
- 28 percent experiencing physical assault or abuse,
- 25 percent being pressured into drinking alcohol or taking drugs,
- 12 percent being sexually abused or exploited, and
- 36 percent have their property stolen or damaged.
Depaul UK’s Interim CEO Ian Brady said: “Rough sleeping is on the increase for young people and our research found that almost 40 percent of young men and one fifth (20 percent) of the young women we surveyed had slept rough. Young people are taking enormous risks and often suffering serious harm to avoid sleeping rough.
“Supported accommodation prevents young people from sleeping on the streets or from staying with strangers or in other dangerous scenarios. This kind of accommodation is already in short supply and we are extremely concerned that the Government is proposing funding reforms that threaten its future.”
Mr Brady added: “We are calling on the Government to rethink these reforms to ensure that sufficient and secure long-term funding is made available for vital supported accommodation projects.”
Supported accommodation was shown by the report to be safer for young people than informal arrangements.
Danger Zones and Stepping Stones: Phase Two, which has been supported by LetterOne, can be downloaded here.
LetterOne Chair Lord Davies of Abersoch said: “Depaul UK’s report illustrates some disturbing trends and, in addition to calling on the Government to help, LetterOne wanted to offer its support by funding this research to highlight the vital need for more supported accommodation services.”
Media Contact: Ollie Wilson, Depaul UK, Oliver.Wilson@depaulcharity.org.uk, 07823 412127