skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 206898 Find in a Library
Title: Safe Streets for Whom? Homeless Youth, Social Exclusion, and Criminal Victimization
Journal: Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice  Volume:46  Issue:4  Dated:July 2004  Pages:423-455
Author(s): Stephen Gaetz
Date Published: July 2004
Page Count: 33
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: This study examined the victimization experiences of street youth living in Toronto, Canada.
Abstract: When homeless youth are discussed within the context of crime, they are usually focused upon as perpetrators. This perspective overlooks the possibility that homeless youth may be at disproportionate risk of victimization given their homeless status. The author argues that the practice of social exclusion gives rise to the conditions that make victimization probable. Lack of access to shelters and housing, limited employment opportunities, and restricted access to public space converge to weaken the ability of homeless street youth to protect themselves and their property. Data employed for the current research were part of a larger study of legal and justice issues facing street youth; surveys and interviews were conducted with 208 homeless youth in Toronto. Self-administered questionnaire data collected from these 208 youth were compared, where possible, with recent criminal victimization research in Canada. The results indicate that young homeless women, in particular, face increased risk of specific types of violent crime, including sexual assault. Eighty-one percent of the sample reported having been victimized during the past year, compared with approximately 25 percent of Canadian citizens who experience victimization during the course of a year. The circumstances allowing for this heightened victimization risk are complex, involving an individual’s social and structural location in society. By restricting the options of homeless street youth through social exclusionary practices, these individuals are placed at heightened victimization risk that forces them to live with the daily fear of theft, robbery, or assault. The implication for public debate is to question how homeless street youth can be brought into the community as citizens, and thus worthy of public safety measures. Similarly, public safety agencies need to consider how to protect citizens who reside on the outskirts of the community. Tables, notes, references
Main Term(s): Homeless children; Victimization risk
Index Term(s): Social classes; Social conditions; Victimization models
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.