National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families

Associations Between Youth Homelessness, Sexual Offenses, Sexual Victimization, and Sexual Risk Behaviors: A Systematic Literature Review

Authors: 
Heerde, J.A.,
Scholes-Balog, K.E.,
Hemphill, S.A.
Year Published: 2014
Type: 
Journal Article
Journal Name: 
Archives of Sexual Behavior
Volume: 44

Issue: 1
Abstract: 

This journal article describes a systematic review of published youth-related studies investigating relationships between homelessness, perpetration of sexual offenses, the experience of sexual victimization, and engagement in sexual risk behavior. The authors searched 17 psychology, health, and social science electronic databases. After collating, summarizing, and appraising the results, they identified 38 studies that met their literature review criteria. The findings show that homeless youth commonly report being raped and sexually assaulted, fear being sexually victimized, and engage in street prostitution and survival sex. The rates of victimization and sexual risk behavior were generally higher for females. Given the paucity of longitudinal studies and limitations of current studies, it is unclear whether homelessness is prospectively associated with sexual victimization or engagement in sexual risk behavior, and whether such associations vary cross-nationally and as a function of time and place. They recommend future prospective research examining the influence of the situational context of homelessness to develop a better understanding of how homelessness influences the perpetration of sexual offenses, the experience of sexual victimization, and engagement in sexual risk behavior among homeless youth. (author abstract modified)

Availability: 
Article available online at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-014-0375-2