Today, the Homeless Persons’ Legal Service (HPLS) and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) launch a report that highlights the links between violence and homelessness.
Rough_Living: Surviving Violence and Homelessness uses ‘biographies of violence’ to understand how homeless people manage and survive repeated episodes of violence throughout their lives.
Early one morning my friend and I were awoken by a size 12 alarm clock. For some reason three guys who had a few too many decided they would attack a couple of ‘streeties’ and me and my mate were the first that they came across. They kicked and punched us so hard that they put us both in hospital. When we reported the attack to the police they said ‘well you live on the street, what did you expect?’.
This story, shared by one of Sydney’s rough sleepers, highlights the random nature of violence against homeless people and a belief on the street that these attacks are not taken seriously.
The CEO of PIAC, Edward Santow, said: ‘Rough Living draws on the life stories of six men and six women experiencing homelessness in Sydney.
‘These biographies of violence reveal the long-term impacts of childhood sexual, physical and emotional abuse.
‘The report challenges public perceptions that homeless people somehow deserve the violence they experience because of their risky lifestyles,’ Mr Santow said.
‘Rough Living demands that we re-examine entrenched misunderstandings about violence and homelessness and service delivery to vulnerable groups.’
Rough Living was commissioned by HPLS (a joint project of PIAC and the Public Interest Law Clearing House). The research was conducted by Dr Catherine Robinson from the University of Technology Sydney, and was funded by PIAC.
Further reading: Histories of trauma and homelessness
Download a copy of Rough_Living: Surviving Violence and Homelessness.
Pictured from left: Sue Cripps from Homelessness NSW; Julie Hourigan Ruse from the Homeless Persons’ Legal Service (HPLS); Edward Santow from PIAC; Chris Hartley from HPLS; Sage Saegenschnitter from HopeStreet; and Dr Catherine Robinson from UTS.