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Rough Living Surviving Violence & Homelessness


Robinson, C, Rough Living Surviving Violence & Homelessness, A Partnership Project of Public Interest Advocacy Cenre (PIAC) and UTS Shopfront, UTSePress, Sydney, Australia, 6, pp. 1-64. (2010) [Government or Industry Research]

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This research project emerged in response to the growing number of informal narratives of violent victimisation encountered by staff of Homeless Persons’ Legal Service (HPLS) in their work with homeless clients and current and former homeless advocates in Sydney, New South Wales. Despite consistent reports of repeated experiences of violence occurring both before and whilst living homeless, it was observed that little current local documentation or wider policy acknowledgment of these exists. Disturbingly, reports about episodes of violence revealed that positive engagement with responding emergency and support services was rare and in many cases was never even sought, and that the opportunity for the follow-up of past traumatic events was even rarer. Most distressing, however, was the perception identified amongst victims that often brutal and repetitive victimisation was a ‘normal’ and accepted part of everyday life in the past and present, and an expected part of everyday life in the future.

As a researcher in the homelessness field with a particular interest in trauma, I was approached in 2008 to begin designing what would become a contract project for HPLS exploring homeless people’s survival of violence. The project was shaped in response to the key concern of HPLS staff that rich and insightful narratives about the experience and context of long-term violence remained unrecorded and yet represented powerful evidence for use in advocacy work, challenging both how homelessness is understood to eventuate and be prolonged and how it is responded to.

As such, this project has at its core a concern to listen to and learn from both homeless people’s personal narratives of violence and their analyses of the social contexts in which these narratives emerge. My primary focus has been to facilitate the documentation and formalisation of data generated through interviews in order to provide a resource for HPLS, and secondly, to offer my own analysis of how it is that homelessness and violence interweave. As a small-scale pilot project it aims to break the descriptive and conceptual ground at the nexus of violence and homelessness and to call for larger scale social research to further deepen and broaden the evidence-base and political valency of this issue.

Item Details

Item Type:Government or Industry Research
Keywords:homelessness, violence, cumulative trauma, trauma-informed care
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Urban sociology and community studies
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Community services
Objective Field:Homelessness and housing services
UTAS Author:Robinson, C (Associate Professor Catherine Robinson)
ID Code:149806
Year Published:2010
Deposited By:Sociology and Criminology
Deposited On:2022-04-14
Last Modified:2022-04-19

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