Kicked, flashed, & peed on: Homeless Brits suffer in silence for Christmas
According to a study from the country’s biggest homelessness charity, Crisis, 80 percent of the rough sleepers interviewed had been attacked or abused in this year alone. However, over half of the victims confessed that they had not gone to the authorities because of the stigma attached to them.
The group’s figures suggest that over one in three homeless people on the streets had been “deliberately hit or kicked,” while a similar number had had things thrown at them. A small, but still significant, nine percent reported being peed on while on the street. More common, however, were threats of violence, which nearly 50 percent of rough sleepers claim to have suffered. An even higher number (59 percent) said they had been verbally abused or harassed.
A homeless man called Paul told the charity that it was during the holiday season that he found himself most abused. “I’ve been chucked over a subway,” he said. “It was at Christmas time and everyone was going out getting drunk. You get more trouble at Christmas, I believe, than any other time. It’s supposed to be a happy time.”
“For anyone sleeping on the street, life can be a struggle just to survive,” said Crisis chief executive Jon Sparks.
“As our research shows, rough sleepers are far more likely to be victims of crime, including violent assault, abuse and intimidation, compared to the general public. This is a horrifying state of affairs and shows why we need to prevent people ending up in this situation in the first place,” he stressed.
1 in 3 homeless people have been deliberately hit or kicked
1 in 3 homeless people have had things thrown at them
1 in 10 homeless people have been urinated on
1 in 20 homeless people have been victim of sexual assault
Nearly half of homeless people have been threatened with violence
Over half of homeless people have been verbally abused or harassed
Sparks told the BBC that, in order to encourage more people to come forward and report attacks, “police need to reassure homeless people their safety is paramount and they will investigate these crimes.” Crisis found that half of sexual assault victims had not gone to the police because they thought they “would not do anything about it.”
A man named Ian told Crisis: “I’m not anti-police and I do talk to the police. But they don’t give you the time because you’re homeless I think. You don’t get the same support as you, if you have like a house.”
“Obviously there was no police down there,” another victim, Simon, chimed. “When I did see the police, which was the next day, I told them about [his assault], they did nothing at all about it, you know. Whereas if it was someone else, I know for a fact they would have taken a statement, or taken details off me, but whereas the police didn’t want to know nothing about me.”
Crisis is throwing its support behind the Homelessness Reduction Bill currently being debated in Parliament that aims to bring down Britain’s homelessness numbers.
It is estimated that nearly 300,000 people are homeless throughout England, Scotland and Wales. In England alone, an average of over 3,500 people slept rough in 2015.