A 12-year-old boy tells his Mum that her new partner is playing with the boy’s penis all the time. Mum confronts her new partner; he denies it and tosses Mum, her 12-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter out of the house. Suddenly homeless, with no clothes, no money and no social supports, Mum seeks emergency accommodation.
The women’s shelter is unable to house the family as the policies prevent accommodating boys over the age of 11. Mum is forced to leave her son in a homeless boy’s home where he is housed with street hardened boys engaging in crime to survive. And so begins the cycle of homelessness often faced by those affected by child sexual abuse.
Homelessness is another of those social curses that requires community action. In PHOTOS OFFER GLIMPSES INTO HOMELESS LIVES, Jaclyn O'Malley reports on a community and government driven initiative in Reno, Nevada, U.S.A. “Reno police officer Patrick O'Bryan came up with the idea of giving cameras to homeless people after watching a documentary about eight children born in an Indian brothel who were given cameras to document their lives. The city of Reno chipped in about $240 from an administrative community block grant for the cameras and the film development.”
Joclyn's blog has some of the pictures featured (many of people looking through link chain fences) and a commentary that I sincerely hope assists in us all reframing our views around homelessness and its causes.
Homelessness is a child protection issue and child protection is serious business. While I work hard to prevent child sexual abuse, I am heartened to know that others work equally as hard to end homelessness. Thank you to those who give a damn.
Related article: Studies of Society: Homeless in Reno
Photo courtsey of tomerka at stock.xchng