Abuse in childhood - a risk factor for adult homelessness

 
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Harriett Cant*
Brighton Homeless Healthcare – Morley Street, Brighton*
Background
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health have published guidelines and documents to assist health professionals in the identification of child sexual abuse and safeguarding issues. Although a controversial and challenging topic- it is one of great importance, not only for the immediate protection of the child, but for the prevention of long-term implications. The aim of this audit was to identify the prevalence of childhood abuse amongst homeless women in the local community.
Methods
Using the One System computer database at the Brighton Homeless Healthcare practice, all 211 female patient notes were analysed for documentation of abuse in childhood, as well as other related information such as safeguarding and involvement of social services.
Results
Out of the 211 female patients registered at the practice 34% had a documented history of abuse in childhood; 15% of those being victims of child sexual abuse. There are currently 20 female patients <18 years old registered at the practice and 10% are victims of physical and sexual abuse. Additionally, 22% of women have had one or more child taken into care/adopted due to safeguarding concerns.


Conclusion
Within the patient group studied the prevalence of abuse in childhood appears almost 7 times greater than the general population. (1) This suggests child abuse may be a risk factor for homelessness in adulthood, although not necessarily a causal relationship it highlights how the detrimental effects of child abuse may be translated into adult life. These findings demonstrate the need for clear and accessible guidance on the assessment and identification of victims of child abuse; immediate safety is a priority, but the long-term implications are also important.
References :
  1. Facts and statistics [Internet]. NSPCC. [cited 2015 Apr 18]. Available from: http://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/child-sexual-abuse/

DOI: 10.7199/ped.oncall.2015.9S
 
How to Cite URL :
Cant H.. Available From : http://www.pediatriconcall.com/conference/abstract/34/view/837
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