Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Homeless youths most often victims of crime: study led by York U researcher

28.09.2010
Homeless young people are victims of crime at rates that society would consider unacceptable for any other group, according to a new report by researchers at York University and the University of Guelph.

The report, Surviving Crime and Violence: Street Youth and Victimization in Toronto, highlights the degree to which it is street youth themselves − often perceived as delinquent and dangerous − who are vulnerable to crime and violence.

"The very people we are taught to fear are the ones who are most at risk," said Professor Stephen Gaetz, associate dean of research and field development in York's Faculty of Education. "More than 76 per cent of the homeless youth we surveyed said they had been victims of violent crime in the past year, and almost three-quarters of them reported multiple incidents."

In comparison, about 40 per cent of young people in the general population reported that they had been victimized in the previous year, when the Canadian General Social Survey last asked them about it in 1999 − and they experienced mostly property crime.

Gaetz and University of Guelph Professor Bill O'Grady interviewed 244 homeless youths across Toronto last year about life on the streets. Their report was commissioned by Justice for Children and Youth, a not-for-profit legal aid clinic that operates a Street Youth Legal Services program, providing legal advice and support to homeless youth in Toronto.

The solution to problems youth face on the streets lies in changing the way youth homelessness is addressed, according to the report. It calls for a balanced response that, instead of relying mostly on emergency services, would balance preventive measures, an emergency response, and transitional support to move young people out of homelessness quickly.

In the interviews, conducted at agencies serving youth in downtown Toronto and the suburbs:

female street youth were more likely than males to report being victims of crime (85.9 per cent compared to 71.8 per cent).

38.2 per cent of the female street youth reported being victims of sexual assault. Reports of sexual assault were higher among black females (47 per cent) than white females (33 per cent).

60 per cent of lesbian and bisexual females reported that they had been sexually assaulted in the past year, making them perhaps the most victimized group among street youth.

young homeless women reported extremely high levels of violence and abuse from their intimate partners.

youths who had become homeless at a young age (16 or 17) were much more likely to have been violently victimized than young people who became homeless later.

only 20 per cent of all respondents said they had alerted police about their victimization.

Much has changed since Gaetz first wrote a report on homeless youth in Toronto, also for Justice for Children and Youth, seven years ago. The City of Toronto and non-profit agencies have improved services, and the City has expanded its Streets to Homes program to move youth into housing. Street Youth Legal Services, a program of Justice for Children and Youth, has expanded its capacity to support young people with their legal and justice issues.

However, the report concludes federal, provincial and municipal governments should be addressing youth homelessness with an integrated strategy that includes: an adequate supply of supported, affordable housing for young people; efforts by health and mental health sectors, corrections and child welfare services to ensure their practices do not contribute to homelessness; crisis intervention and family mediation to help young people remain housed; and transitional approaches with income, social and health care supports for young people.

"Many people, including policy makers, believe that youth homelessness and crime are linked, and they use laws such as the Safe Streets Act to 'move along' young people," said Gaetz. "In fact, our findings show that young homeless people are among the most victimized people in our society, and they need our protection."

York University is the leading interdisciplinary research and teaching university in Canada. York offers a modern, academic experience at the undergraduate and graduate level in Toronto, Canada's most international city. The third largest university in the country, York is host to a dynamic academic community of 50,000 students and 7,000 faculty and staff, as well as 200,000 alumni worldwide. York's 10 Faculties and 28 research centres conduct ambitious, groundbreaking research that is interdisciplinary, cutting across traditional academic boundaries. This distinctive and collaborative approach is preparing students for the future and bringing fresh insights and solutions to real-world challenges. York University is an autonomous, not-for-profit corporation.

Media Contact:

Janice Walls, Media Relations, York University, 416 736 2100 x22101 / wallsj@yorku.ca

Janice Walls | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.yorku.ca

Further reports about: Homeless Youth Programs homeless youth victims of crime

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>