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.
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.
Janice Walls, Media Relations, York University, 416 736 2100 x22101 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Janice Walls | EurekAlert!
Obstructing the ‘inner eye’
07.07.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....
A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...
Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision
Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences
21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy