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National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families

Adolescent homelessness: Evaluating victimization risk based on LGBT identity and sleeping location.

Flatley, C.A., Hatchimonji, D.R., Treglia, D., &. Cutuli, J.J.
Type new
Journal Article
Year published new
Journal Name

Journal of Adolescence Health


Teen homelessness confers risk for victimization experiences, and teens that identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) are at an even greater risk of experiencing victimization and homelessness.

Using the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, we evaluated the association of experiencing homelessness with physical and sexual victimization and we examined whether LGBT identification moderated this relationship. We also evaluated if the odds of experiencing sexual and physical victimization differed depending on the reported sleeping location.

Students who reported homelessness had increased odds of having experienced physical and sexual victimization. LGBT identity was related to increased risk for physical and sexual victimization; however, LGBT identity did not moderate the relationship between homelessness and victimization. Considering nighttime sleeping arrangement, students who reported having no usual place to stay had the highest odds of experiencing sexual or physical victimization, followed by car, park, campground, hotels/motels, emergency housing, and doubled-up with family or friends. Notably, all homeless sleeping locations were associated with increased odds of experiencing victimization relative to sleeping at a parent or guardian's home.

Our findings confirm links between teen homelessness and sexual and physical victimization, as well as increased risk for victimization experienced by LGBT youth. Special considerations should be made when developing and implementing interventions for teens experiencing homelessness and teens who identify as LGBT."