Responding to Homeless Victims of Sexual Assault
Jessy Haywood, Katya Fels Smyth  -  2009/8/26
http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ovcproviderforum
 
 
As a prosecutor, one of my biggest challenges has been finding the victim when she/he is needed for pre trial matters and trial. Do you have any suggestions for best practices for prosecutors in addressing this issue?
 
1.  Katya Smyth
 Many homeless individuals have had adversarial experiences with the criminal justice system in the past, and may be concerned that they will not be viewed sympathetically by the justice system (whether or not this expectation is deserved), so even if a message is passed on to them, they may be reluctant to participate. The very public nature of life on the streets also means that an individual may fear retribution for ratting on someone else, if the perpetrator is also homeless. My concrete suggestion (that Ive found effective from the service side) is to reach out in whatever capacity you or a victim witness advocate can to some of the local homeless shelters and providers even a single meeting can put a face (for staff) on an otherwise somewhat impersonal system. Certainly, if your community has participated in a 10-years-to-ending-homelessness process as many cities have across the country, there may be a meeting or two where someone in your office could do a presentation about the challenges you face in ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice, and putting yourself out there as a resource who wants to be a partner to community organizations. This may mean that when a staff person at a program takes a message for a survivor, he or she may be able to talk about an individual within the justice system who the staff person has confidence in, etc., and to support the survivor in getting back in touch with you (I realize you wont necessarily be prosecuting all the cases, but these friendly doors into frightening systems can be helpful for everyone). That said, of course, you must be careful to take seriously victims concerns about their safety that may be particular to life on the streets. There is another issue, which is the really chronic nature of crisis for people who are homeless. A week after a sexual assault, an individual may lose his or her Medicaid, or have a wheelchair stolen, or be assaulted again. This doesnt diminish the impact of the trauma, but does compromise the survivors ability to focus on moving through any particular trauma. The best strategy for this is patience and perseverance if youve lost touch with someone, leave multiple messages where you might normally leave one. And all this said, of course, an individual may just not have the bandwidth to participate. But that said, in both these scenarios, you are demonstrating in small but significant ways to other survivors and to those who support survivors that there is someone who takes the trauma seriously. One new resource is www.aequitasresource.org-- a new organization dedicated to supporting prosecutors of violence against women. Their inaugural newsletter speaks well to the challenges you face, and the very real reasons survivors may not be jumping to engage with the justice system.
 
2.  Jessy Haywood
 This is often challenging with clients who dont have a fixed residence or consistent access to a telephone or email. Most shelters, especially those for survivors of abuse and assault, have very strict confidentiality policies and cannot confirm or deny the presence of any person in their shelter if that person receives a phone call. You can let shelter workers know that they dont have to confirm or deny the persons presence, you can just leave a message and if the person is there they will get it. Also, if the client is a survivor of domestic violence, he/she may be eligible for the HopeLine program provided by Verizon Wireless. More information about the program is available here http://aboutus.vzw.com/communityservice/hopeLine.html Verizon works with local shelters by providing them with free, pre-paid phones that clients can use in urgent situations. The phones come with a set amount of minutes (those provided to our shelter usually have 20 minutes on them) but clients can add minutes with their own money or emergency funds provided through a shelter or other service agency. This service is for survivors of domestic violence. If youre working on a sexual assault case and the perpetrator was an intimate partner of the victim, than the client is a survivor of domestic violence. The US DOJ estimates that 28 of sexual assaults are perpetrated by an intimate partner of the victim.
 
 
What techniques do you utilize in assisting homeless survivors of assault who refuse services, such as shelter, medical treatment, ect?
 
1.  Katya Smyth
 It can be hard for us to hold the powerlessness, but the best approach is often to explore, in a non-judgmental way why someone is making the choices she is. I start with the assumption that there is a calculus that underlies peoples decisions - all of our decisions that others may not agree with, but it is the starting point. My job is to understand that reasoning as a starting point, because new possibilities, sometimes weird, sometimes difficult, but new do tend to open up. I know, for example, a number of homeless women who wouldnt take psychiatric medications that would alleviate their symptoms because they felt too drugged, and therefore at risk for assault on the streets. The way to help in this example is to engage with a womans (in this case) interest in symptom relief as long as it doesnt make her feel more vulnerable. This might mean helping her have a different conversation with her psycho-pharmacologist, or even switching to another doctor who will listen. I would recommend reviewing materials on harm reduction and motivational interviewing. www.harmreduction.org is a good place to start for resources. Although much of their work is framed in the context of substance use, it translates well to supporting people in a process of intentional change that allows people to maintain control and choice and build connections.
 
2.  Jessy Haywood
 We operate on the empowerment principle which means not forcing or even advising clients to use services they dont want. Assault is defined by powerlessness. Someone who has been sexually assaulted has had their power and control taken away by the assailant. Our understanding is that the best way we can possibly respond to this is to give some of that power and control back to the client by letting them make decisions for themselves. Even when its tough and we disagree and think we know better than the client, we have to put that aside and trust that person to know their situation and how to keep themselves safe better than anyone else, including us. This is no easy task for sure but I think there are things we can do to make it a little less difficult. I started by just trying to change my language from you should to something like a lot of people in similar situations find such and such helpful for x,y and z reasons. Do you think that would be helpful for you? I would highly recommend the book Safety Planning with Battered Women by Jill Davies and Eleanor Lyon for more information on the empowerment principal and client-defined advocacy. Although the book focuses on work with survivors of domestic violence, the practices are equally applicable to those who work with survivors of sexual assault as well.
 
 
In our County, unless the Sexual Assault is a part of a Domestic Violence situation, there is no housing for victims of sexual assault. In the past year, there has only been two SA cases in which clients needed housing. One client had to leave the county and another client was able to relocate to the safehouse here. As a Rape Crisis Counselor and Sexual Assault Service Provider, Is there a "List" of housing available to those who are victims of Sexual Assault? If so, how does one get the information needed for our clients? Thank You, Suzanne Mazoff County Coordinator SASS PPMH, Inc.
 
1.  Suzanne Mazoff
 Thanks Jessie,I have explored www.nsvrc.org as well. Perhaps I should go directly to our DV shelter which is funded through Catholic Charities. I know they are currently at full capacity. But we sit on a MDT for the Child Advocacy Center. Thanks for the idea. I will call the ED to set up a meeting about this. Thanks,Suzanne
 
2.  Jessy Haywood
 Hi Suzanne,I don't know of a list that exists. When your question came up I immediately went to the website for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) to try and find a list but have not had success yet. If I find one on their website I will reply to this post again. If you would like to search their site for resources, the URL is www.nsvrc.org I think a big contributor to this gap in services are the funding streams for emergency shelter. Often funding streams for domestic violence shelters provide specific guidelines that those sheltered MUST be victims of domestic violence and so those shelters are impeded from providing space for survivors of sexual assault who were not assaulted by an intimate partner. At our shelter, we have met the requirements of our funders and provided space specifically for survivors of sexual assault by designating two of our rooms as sexual assault rooms only and ensuring the domestic violence funding does not go to cover those rooms. I think we're fortunate to have enough space in our shelter to do this where other service providers just might not have enough rooms. Does this sound like a possibility you could ask your county's DV shelter about?
 
 
Are there any best practices for keeping track of homeless people who have sex crimes cases pending in the criminal justice system? Most offices are willing to prosecute these cases, but finding a homeless victim for trial can be next to impossible! Thanks
 
1.  Kristina
 Katya,Thank you for your suggestions. I work for the National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women of the National District Attorneys Association, which, for years now, has been supporting prosecutors who handle cases of violence against women. Prosecutors with questions of issues can continue to contact our office.
 
2.  Elynne Greene
 In Southern Nevada we have a comprehensive network of victim service providers throughout the criminal justice system. When we can identify a victim who is homeless, we can work with them either in the shelters or where ever they are. They can get support and have a point of contact throughout the process. BUT, the key is maintaining contact in the event that they relocate.
 
3.  Katya Smyth
 It's a good question. Please see our responses to an earlier question (The first posed, I think). Early on, asking for multiple phone numbers for a person, and clarifying where it is safe or not safe to leave a message can be helpful. If your community has a homeless person's voice mail program, you can encourage a survivor to get a voice mail box so that you can leave messages, etc. You can also find out if there is a drop in program, etc., that holds people's mail for them, so you can try to get mail or messages to survivors that way. One of the best practices is to think systemically within your community-- that is, to not try to build a strategy individual by individual, but to forge relationships between the court system and homelessness services and rape crisis services. There is, rightly or wrongly, often a worry that survivors who are homeless and who may be marginalized by multiple issues will be hurt, not helped, by the court system. Setting yourself up as an ally, including being part of converastions about how to address this on a local level with other programs, will go a long way. Also, again, one new resource is www.aequitasresource.org-- a new organization dedicated to supporting prosecutors of violence against women. Their inaugural newsletter speaks well to the challenges you face, and the very real reasons survivors may not be jumping to engage with the justice system.
 
 
How are homeless youth ages 13-21 provided service. Also are victim service agencies aware of runaway and homeless youth programs across the country that provide shelter and crisis intervention to homeless youth? If so, how can the runaway and homeless youth community and the victim service community collaborate better?
 
1.  Jessy Haywood
 Hi Carol,The 2004 study on assault prior to leaving home was originally published as...Tyler, K., Whitbeck, L., Hoyt, D., & Cauce, A. (2004). Risk factors for sexual victimization among male and female homeless and runaway youth. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 19(5), 503-520. However, you can find a copy of it online in a Washington Coalition journal here... www.wcsap.org/pdf/RAD酗-1.pdf Also, the AFC article can be found here... http://www.aliforneycenter.org/resources.html
 
2.  Kelli
 I would encourage people to find out more about the FYSB funded Basic Center and Transitional Living Programs that support runaway and homeless youth. These programs operate from a Positive Youth Development philosophy that is much like Victim Empowerment. Youth are not forced into anything. These are not systems youth. They enter and leave the program on their own accord. More information about these programs can be found at www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/fysb also at www.rhyttac.ou.edu
 
3.  Jessy Haywood
 I think most homeless youth are forced into shelters regardless of any past trauma. States work to ensure that all children are in someone's care, so yes, if the youth are discovered to be homeless they are in the system so to speak and state agencies including child protective agencies will work to put the youth into someone's care. Whose care that is may depend on their victimization status but regardless, child protections agencies work hard to ensure that all youth are housed and in the care of a family or adult staff members in a residential program.
 
4.  carol
 I am interested in the source for the research numbers quoted in the response to this question. Thank you.
 
5.  Gail Davis
 Are the teen sexual assault victims forced into shelters if they report their victimization?
 
6.  Jessy Haywood
 Homeless youth are provided services in many different ways. A lot of homeless youth across the nation (but primarily in urban settings) are provided shelter. Providing homeless youth with shelter is a significantly effective way to prevent sexual assault. A 1999 study (Green, et al.) found that 27.5 of street youth had engaged in sexual survival strategies (trading sex for money, food, a bed, etc.) compared with 9.5 of shelter youth. Other services provided to homeless youth include employment initiatives, education, substance abuse and mental health treatment. The second question depends on the victim service agency. Our agency connects youth with the YMCA Safe Place program and a few years ago went through the process to become a YMCA Safe Place site. More information about Safe Place can be found here... http://www.nationalsafeplace.org I think the two communities you mentioned can collaborate better by meeting at the intersections. We know there are many intersections between contributing factors to homelessness among youth and contributing factors to sexual victimization. For example, in a 2004 study (Cauce) they found that 60 of the females and 25 of the males in their research group were sexually assaulted prior to leaving home. In another study (AFC, 2005) they found 38 of the homeless youth in their research group cited sexual abuse as their primary reason for leaving home. Other intersections of victimization related issues and homelessness include gender identity and sexual orientation, domestic violence, use of economic survival strategies, substance abuse and mental illness.
 
7.  Elynne Greene
 Homeless Youth in Las Vegas, Nevada can receive an array of services. Agencies who service youth ages 13-21 work with multiple agencies. Services include housing, school, food, wrap around case management, medical, and mental health services. Crisis Intervention for homeless youth is 24 hours 7 days a week. A homeless youth can go to any Terrible Hurst and inform the cashier they are homeless. The cashier will then call Nevada Partners for Homeless Youth (NPHY) NPHY will pick-up the youth and services will start at that point. It is all about community networking and collaboration.
 
 
Is a homeless individual more at-risk for sexual violence than other populations?
 
1.  Jessy Haywood
 I would first refer you to the previous posts from Katya, particularly the post about increased rates of victimization for homeless persons and the post about intersections with other victimization related issues (posted by Adrienne, see the response from Katya). I'm not sure exactly which other populations you might be thinking about. Homeless persons are not a homogeneous group. So, it's difficult to compare them with any populations other than the housed because many populations, marginalized and not, are represented among the homeless. That said, the comparison of risks to homeless persons v. housed persons would indicate that yes, homeless persons are much more at risk for sexual violence. Studies showing this risk are cited in those previous posts from Katya.
 
 
Our agency is DV/SV shelter and service center. How can we best assist the population of women homeless prior to the assault in a community with few resources for the homeless? The women will likely be homeless upon leaving our facility and again at high risk of assault.
 
1.  Katya Smyth
 Thanks-- that helps a lot. One of the things I would recommend is safety planning-- there's a guide I like: Keeping Safe on the Streets http://www.nhchc.org/FOSS_Keeping_Safe.pdf -- very practical safety planning for homeless women and their allies. If any of the survivors you work with are sex workers, or engage in survival sex, i would recommend this as a safety planning guide: http://www.livingincommunity.ca/toolkit/ASWpage2.html Whatever you can do to keep your doors open-- literally and figuratively, can be really helpful-- all of us need to know that there's someone on our side--or someone who is thinking about us and who will be there for us if it all falls apart again-- if there's a way for your group to do some work to help people build supportive, lasting communities which may or may not involve your staff, that is great.It is worth your working to build some relationships (which you may already have!) with allies in other community organizations-- sometimes the string pulling that we do for clients of friends is reciprocated, and can translate into safety. At times, I have used stats to advocate-- in other posts, Jessy and I give links to resources about how often women are re-assaulted on the streets-- if you feel a participant is particularly vulnerable for re-attack, you might be able to get a line jumped. It doesn't help solve the problem for those who are left in the queue, of course. Finally, a really thorough, practical and well done resource is: http://www.pcar.org/resources/poverty.pdf It isn't about homelessness per se, but delves deeply into the intersection of sexual assault and poverty and the need for economic empowerment.
 
2.  Deborah Lloyd
 We are an emergency shelter serving victims of doemstic and sexual assualt. the women. Typically women who come to us and are homeless have been sexually assaulted while in a homeless situation i.e on the street or perhaps by someone from they met while at the homeless shelter. The are fearful to return to that setting (as they should be)We know the time in our emergency shelter is time limted and the avaialble resources for housing are thin leaving them to return again to a homeless situation.Is that a little clearer?
 
3.  Katya Smyth
 So that I can make sure I answer in a way that is helpful, could you please clarify-- are you asking how to support women who are homeless and sexaully assaulted while they are homeless? I think the second part of your question is related to services insufficient to meet demand (shelter?), meaning that a woman may be unsheltered after leaving your services-- is this right? If you could clarify, that would be great.Thanks!
 
 
In working with many homeless clients who are victims of incest they tend to experience many trust issues in relationships, even years later (understandably so). What is the best way to go about discussing these issues and working with these clients?
 
1.  Katya Smyth
 Your comment understandably so is, for me, really the key issue. If you are in a setting that can allow trust to develop over time, you are well positioned to do what is most helpful: prove yourself worthy of trust. The principles of trauma informed care (see http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/nctic/trauma.asp) are very useful, of course.There is no rule that one should steer into the trauma if there are other issues someone wants to explore, or that you should shut off talking about the trauma until someone is housed (although that is part of some older models). Often, I have found, it goes back and forth-- the nature of homelessness is often of chronic crisis. Part of developig trust and helping someone move forward is to support their attending to what feels important and relevant in the moment-- it may seem small (replacing broken eyeglasses), but the symbolism is very, very important. If there are housing first models in your community, these can be particularly useful, BUT beware setting someone up for isolation-- the housing may bring a stabilty needed to work through many issues, but can implode if there aren't real, supportive networks (not only around trauma and homelessness, but around a range of other issues) that a survivor can be part of.
 
 
Have you looked at the "Bumfights" videos and do you think they have a significant role in the sexual assault of the homeless?
 
1.  Jessy Haywood
 I have heard of the bumfights videos but no I have not watched any myself. I think those of us in this work experience enough vicarious trauma so I try to avoid doing more to myself than I must. I am aware of them however although I have not read or seen any news about such videos where the homeless person is sexually assaulted as well, fortunately I suppose. That said, I certainly think that the role those videos play in degrading and stigmatizing homeless persons may make the desire to sexually assault a homeless person more forgivable, in the perpetrator's view. People who make such videos seem to have some sense of ownership over the homeless person's body. The thinking being that if this person is homeless, they are somehow asking to be assaulted. Perpetrators of sexual assault demonstrate a similar sense of ownership over the victim's body. I think the videos also may contribute to the idea of getting away with assault on homeless persons. We know homeless persons are less likely to report assaults and even if they do are less likely to be believed. Add this to the fact that mental illness and substance abuse are big contributing factors to homelessness and are also reasons victims of crime who suffer from mental illness or substance abuse are less likely to report crimes or be believed. It seems brazen to post the videos on the internet for all to see and I can't help but think those who commit these crimes have little fear that they will be charged with a crime, caught or prosecuted.
 
 
How common is sexual assault for homeless women?
 
1.  Katya Smyth
 Sexual assault has a pernicious link to homelessness. At the end of this post, I list a few resources you might find useful for more reading.Here are some things we know. Sexual assault precedes homelessness; it leads youth to run away; it undermines general safety and stability of individuals; it is linked to increased social isolation. In addition, childhood sexual abuse is correlated with adult victimization among homeless women. Those who are homeless are also very likely to experience higher rates of violence on the streets than are their homeless counterparts (see Kushel et al, 2003, No Door to Lock, in Archives of Internal Medicine). One study found that 13 of homeless women had been raped in the last 12 months; half of these were raped at least twice (Wenzel et al, 2000). Those who sleep outside versus in shelters are considered at particularly high risk. One study found that 97 of homeless women with serious mental illness were survivors of serious violence. Survival sex is a risk factor for sexual assault; those who engage in survival sex may be less likely to seek the assistance of law enforcement. Substance use is both a risk factor for, and a way of coping with, sexual assault (and for many women I have known, survival sex). Finally, although I am not as familiar with the literature (if its of interest, I can look into specifics and get back to you), we know that prison rape is a reality for men and women; many people are homeless after being released from prison. Keeping Safe on the Streets http://www.nhchc.org/FOSS_Keeping_Safe.pdf -- very practical safety planning for homeless women and their allies. No Safe Place: Sexual Assault in the Lives of Homeless Women: http://new.vawnet.org/category/Main_Doc.php?docid=558 Taylor et al, (2008) Cumulative Experiences of Violence Among High-Risk Urban Youth, Journal of Interpersonal Violence Volume 23 Number 11, 1618-1635 WCSAP Homeless, Runaway and Throwaway Youth: Sexual Victimization and the Consequences of Life on the Streets : http://www.wcsap.org/pdf/RAD酗-1.pdf
 
2.  Elynne Greene
 It is unfortunately very common because there is often drugs and alcohol involved in these cases and there is a lack of trust in law enforcement sometimes due to criminal history and or perception. Prostituion is a way of survival for many homeless women resulting in vulnerability coupled with low self esteem and fear of retaliation while living on the streets.
 
 
I would appreciate any suggestions you have for getting long-term counseling services for homeless victims of SA. We are a very rural state, with limited and long-distance resources, particularly when looking at victim emotional and psychological after-care.
 
1.  Katya Smyth
 One of the greatest services you could offer survivors is a listing of who can reasonably respond to the intersection of assault and homelessness-- so many wonderful people have been trained to see these as separate issues, or are unaware of the dramatic limitations homelessness places on a person's control and choice. Of course, in a rural setting, where there are few resources to begin with, a training program, although an intial outlay of time and resources, could really help both the supply and demand side of this difficult equation.FInally, let us never forget to critical role of social support. Social isolation is a terrible after effect of assault; it is a part of homelessness, too. Seeding and supporting peer and community support for survivors needs to happen whether or not there is counseling in place, and it can really lessen the need for counseling in many situations.
 
2.  Jessy Haywood
 Do you have a rape crisis center located anywhere nearby? Most of these centers provide long-term counseling to survivors of sexual assault. Services are definitely more scarce in rural settings. If you have private practice therapists andor counselors in your area, I would also suggest offering training to those folks. Counselors, therapists and social workers need continuing education credits annually so if you can create a training program about sexual assault andor homelessness and apply to your state board to have that training approved for continuing education, there's a much better chance of getting professionals in the therapy and counseling community to become engaged with the issue, especially if you're able to offer the training at a low cost.
 
3.  TT
 The nsvrc.org website would be very helpful for you in finding counseling services for homeless SA victims. It will give you all the SA crisis centers in your area. Most centers offer free counseling but usually only around 10-12 sessions, long-term counseling may be more difficult to find at no cost. Hope this helps.
 
 
Is there any data available that compares prevalence of sexual violence among different marginalized populations? For example, incidences of SV perpetrated against homeless versus mentally disabled versus elderly?
 
1.  Katya Smyth
 The reality, of course, is that the more strikes a person has against him or her, the more vulnerable to attack he or she is, and the less likely that survivor is to seek out or find relevant, healing support. Being homeless dramatically increases the likelihood that a person will be sexually assaulted, period (see our previous post, and Jessys answer to a subsequent question). Being an unsheltered person is more dangerous than being sheltered. A person who is substance abusing is more vulnerable still; having a serious mental illness makes a person even more vulnerable, as does physical disability. Those who are sex workers face very high rates of sexual assaults. There are many, nonexclusive explanations for this, having to do with the societal dehumanization of those who are homeless and face other social stigma, to the perceived (and in many jurisdictions) reality that it is possible to get away with assault on a homeless person, to assaults being a crime of power, hence preying on those that are relatively powerless. I am not aware of any studies that do side by side comparisons of those who are cognitively disabled and not homeless, for example, with those who are homeless and not cognitively disabledbecause homelessness disproportionately catches those who face other challenges, the linkages can be difficult to sort out. That said, I believe that everything I have read points to being homeless as a compounding risk factor. There are a number of studies and reviewshere are a few that you might find useful:Kushel, M.B., Evans, J.L., Perry, S., Robertson, M.J., & Moss, A.R. (2003). No door to lock: Victimization among homeless and marginally housed persons. Archives of Internal Medicine, 163, 2492 - 2499.No Safe Place: Sexual Assault in the Lives of Homeless Women: http://new.vawnet.org/category/Main_Doc.php?doc/id558
 
 
When dealing with homeless, the first issue addressed tends to be the fact that the individual is homeless. What technique is utilized to encourage them to seek counseling for the assualt given their focus on their homeless state?
 
1.  Katya Smyth
 When dealing with homeless, the first issue addressed tends to be the fact that the individual is homeless. What technique is utilized to encourage them to seek counseling for the assault given their focus on their homeless state?There are a number of different philosophies at play in your question, each of which you may be encountering. One school of thought (an increasingly disputed one) is that it is irresponsible to address trauma before a survivor is relatively stabilized with regard to housing, food, physical safety, etc. However, all of this may be illusive if, in fact, an assault or a series of assaults left unaddressed is essentially enabling the homelessness. This has led to a school of thought that puts housing on the back burner until the trauma has been worked through. Of course, this isnt realistic either. The school of thought I and a number of colleagues subscribe to is that this is a very complicated situation for a service ally, for sure, but especially for a survivor. There are not a lot of homeless programs really set up to deal with assault (although the advent of trauma-informed care in homeless services is helping, particularly as we know that, sadly, histories of violence are fairly normative for homeless women and, we think increasingly for homeless men), and many rape crisis centers struggle to support individuals whose lives are buffeted not only by the assault, but by homelessness and other issues as well. I would first make sure that there are relevant, supportive counseling resources to refer people toit can be retraumatizing to meet with a wonderful trauma counselor who does not understand the context of homelessness at all!Here are two programs your guest hosts know well that might be resources for you in exploring approaches that are working on the ground: On The Rise, Inc. www.ontherise.org, and the Center for Women and Families, www.thecenteronline.org. I have also written about On The Rise in an article that might be helpful to you and your colleagues in holding this complexity: The Full Frame Approach: A New response to Marginalized Women Left Behind by specialized Services (Smyth, Goodman and Glenn, 2006, American Journal Orthopsychiatry).
 
 
I am starting to realize that although my county does not have housing available to victims of Sexual Assault, we do have a DV Shelter (one home) available but we have many other resources available as well.
 
1.  susan cash
 As of late Ive had 3 clients who are homeless and despite my 25-30 phone calls to various resources,Ive had no luck in finding them shelter. We have a DV shelter but they have to meet strict qualifications and if its a family, your chances are even slimmer. Ive been going home each night feeling so helpless and like Im failing to help. I get to go home to a nice house and family and they are sleeping in cars. All the calls I made-no one ever returned to me. Any ideas?
 
 
Please provide information on homeless victims of sexual assault who are children ages 5-16
 
1.  Jim Garrett
 I was wondering about a follow up to the comment that Katya had a good resource on homeless youth and sexual victimization that was going to be posted shortly. Was it? If so, where at? Thanks. Jim
 
2.  Katya Smyth
 Here are a couple resources that might be useful, particularly with the older end of the age range you posed: Cumulative Experiences of Violence Among High-Risk Urban YouthCatherine A. Taylor, Neil W. Bori, Sherryl Scott Heller, Gretchen A. Clum , Janet C. Rice, Charles H. Zeanah ABSTRACT: This study examines type-specific and cumulative experiences of violence among a vulnerable population of youth. Sixty high-risk, shelter-dwelling, urban youth were interviewed regarding their history of childhood maltreatment, exposure to community violence (ECV), and experience with intimate partner violence (IPV). Results show a high prevalence and high degree of overlap among multiple types of violence exposure. Childhood physical, sexual (CSA), and emotional (CEA) abuse were interrelated and were associated with ECV. Cumulative experiences of childhood abuse (CCA) had a graded association with IPV victimization. In multivariate analyses, CCA and ECV were independently associated with IPV victimization. Gender moderated the effect of one association: CEA raised the risk of IPV victimization for girls but not for boys. Only CSA predicted IPV perpetration. Findings suggest that cumulative exposures to violence create cumulative risk for experiencing more violence. Shelter-dwelling, urban youth may be particularly vulnerable to this additive effect.Journal of Interpersonal Violence Volume 23 Number 11 November 2008 1618-1635 WCSAP Homeless, Runaway and Throwaway Youth: Sexual Victimization and the Consequences of Life on the Streets www.wcsap.org/pdf/RAD酗-1.pdf
 
3.  Jessy Haywood
 We know that sexual assault is frequently a reason or the primary reason for youth leaving home. I would refer you to the earlier post about homeless youth (posted by Kelli) where there are citations for a few studies which speak to this. Katya also has a great resource on homeless youth and sexual violence which should be posted soon.
 
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