The Homeless Youth. A Cause for Concern

Essay, 2016

7 Pages



Thekli Louca

The increasing numbers of the homeless population is currently one of the biggest issues in the UK. The homeless population is turning to local housing teams and homelessness charities for help. Many homeless people that approach housing agencies are under eighteen years old, and they are judged to be in priority need and the local housing departments are obliged to find them accommodation. Because the legal age that a young person is allowed to leave the parental home without the consent of the parent is sixteen, the numbers of homeless sixteen and seventeen years olds is rising. Statistics show that between seventy eight thousand and eighty thousand young people become homeless in the UK each year.[1] However, the fact that the young homeless people are approaching local housing authorities for help and not their relatives has raised questions about their family background and the reasons for leaving the parental home.

Studies show that young people aged sixteen to twenty five leave their parental home due to violence, neglect and abuse, and many of them are actively thrown out by their parents.[2] Relationship breakdown has remained a key ‘immediate cause’ of homelessness for several decades.[3] Young homeless people from non-disrupted families tend to leave their home as a result of their own behaviour. Young women’s main reason for leaving home is family friction because of disagreements over boyfriends, while young men’s is conflict over school behaviour and then escalating collision over drug use or trouble with the police. The threat of eviction is the main way for parents to control their children, resulting in young women walking out of the home and young men to be thrown out. Young people from disrupted families leave their home mostly due to conflict between themselves and their parent’s new partner. Specifically, for young men conflict arises because they believe that they should have been given priority over their mother’s new partner.[4] Furthermore, the majority of homeless youths tend to leave home due to abusive behaviour by their step-parent, parent’s new partner or their natural parent. The most common abuse they experience is long-term systematic abuse, to escalating violent conflictions.

Furthermore, research undertaken by the Staffordshire University, where parents of twenty two young people were interviewed, revealed that many consider sixteen to be the age that is acceptable for children to leave home in case of collision.[5] Most parents interviewed were willing to support their children at home, but this support was conditional on the young person’s behaviour and their parent’s own circumstances. Half of them thought that the parents of a sixteen year old girl should let their daughter leave home, rather than accept a boyfriend that they objected. Almost all thought that a sixteen year old boy should move out if in conflict with his mother’s new partner. Additionally, the research shows that most young people remained in contact with at least one family member, and many young women were likely to regard pregnancy as a passport to going home.

The evidence about youth homelessness raises the question that the family bond in the UK is weaker than in other Southern European countries. Statistics show that in Northern European countries, young people leave their parental home in their early twenties while in Southern and Eastern European countries they tend to leave in their early thirties.[6] The average age of leaving the parental home in Croatia, Slovakia, Malta and Italy was thirty or above on 2013 and in Greece, Spain, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania and Poland was higher than twenty eight. By contrast, in Sweden, Denmark and Finland young people left the parental home on average before the age of twenty three. The Netherlands and France both recorded a mean age of twenty four.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1: Estimated mean age of leaving the parental household, by sex, 2013
Source: Eurostat(yth_demo_030) -

Moreover, according to the Daily Mail, the UK was revealed to have the worst records in Europe for young people trying addictive substances in 2000.[7] Experts blamed poor parenting for the fact that one in five thirteen year olds are regular smokers, that one in eight teenagers has experimented with hard drugs including heroin and ecstasy and that almost a third of children aged fifteen and sixteen have been drunk at least twenty times in their lives. Furthermore, according to the Child protection register statistics, 56,231 children are currently identified as needing protection from abuse in the UK.[8] More than one child a week dies because of maltreatment and one in five children is experiencing serious physical abuse, sexual abuse or severe physical or emotional neglect. Abuse and neglect can cause emotional lifelong psychological consequences such as isolation, fear, inability to trust which can lead to low self-esteem, depression and relationship difficulties.[9] Furthermore, abuse and neglect at an early age can cause poor mental and emotional health, cognitive difficulties and social difficulties. Victims of child abuse and neglect might also experience behavioural consequences including difficulties during adolescence, adult criminality, alcohol and drug abuse and abusive behaviour.

Even though there are no studies that blame ignorant, neglectful and abusive parenting to youth homelessness, it is believed that there is a connection. According to the evidence found about youth homelessness and their family background, most young homeless people experienced abusive and violent behaviour in their families. For many the level of violence at home left them with no option but to leave for their own safety. Many young people who find themselves homeless because of violence at home are suffering from mental health issues. These facts show that for many young people staying in the family home is not an option and it would be better to build an independent life for themselves.

Furthermore, the needs of young homeless people vary among individuals, and it is clear that some young people would benefit from help to re-establish relationships with parents, while others are better off living on their own. However, not every young person has a family to go to. Many young people are born to or end up in the care system and at eighteen they are on their own. Recent survey conducted by Rebecca Coombesfor the Guardian newspaper show that many care leavers might face homelessness soon after leaving the care system.


[1] Anna Clarke, Gemma Burgess, Sam Morris and Chihiro Udagawa. (2015). Estimating the scale of youth homelessness in the UK. Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research. 54 (1), 26/05/2016.

[2] Isobel Anderson. (2003). Causes of Homelessness in the UK: A DynamicAnalysis. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology. 14 (13)

[3] Fitzpatrick, S., Kemp, P., & Klinker, S. (2000). Single homelessness: An overview of research in Britain. Bristol: Policy Press.

[4] Joan Smith (1997) Young homeless people and their families < search?q=cache:EPpUpgSfi3QJ: NJno+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk.> Last accessed 31 January 2016.

[5] Joan Smith (1997) Young homeless people and their families < search?q=cache:EPpUpgSfi3QJ: NJno+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk.> Last accessed 31 January 2016.

[6] Eurostst (2015) Being young in Europe today - family and society < explained/ index.php?title=Being_young_in_Europe_today_-_family_and_society&oldid=262375.> Last accessed 31 January 2016.

[7] JENNY HOPE (2000) British parents ignorant about their children < British-parents-ignorant-children.html.> Last accessed 31 January 2016

[8] NSPCC (2015) Statistics on child abuse < statistics/.> Last accessed 31 January 2016.

[9] Child Welfare Information Gateway (2013) Long-Term Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect <> Last accessed 01 February 2016.

Excerpt out of 7 pages


The Homeless Youth. A Cause for Concern
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
739 KB
homeless, youth, cause, concern
Quote paper
Thekli Louca (Author), 2016, The Homeless Youth. A Cause for Concern, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: The Homeless Youth. A Cause for Concern

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free