Saturday the 15th of May

...to the ends of the earth

“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Eighty per cent of rough sleepers were attacked or abused this year, charity says

Almost 80 per cent of people sleeping rough were attacked or suffered abuse or anti-social behaviour over the past year, a homelessness charity said.

As Crisis opens its centres to thousands of homeless people across the country this Christmas, the charity said two thirds of people felt that living on the streets was getting ever harder.

Around one in three rough sleepers questioned in England and Wales said they had been deliberately hit, kicked or been subjected to violence, while a similar number said they had things thrown at them.

Almost half reported being intimidated or threatened with violence, six in 10 claimed to have been verbally abused or harassed and 10 per cent said people had even urinated on them.

Shockingly, seven per cent said they had been the victim of a sexual assault while homeless.

Others reported having things stolen from them or their belongings being deliberately damaged or vandalised, but more than half did not report crimes to the police as they did not think anything would be done.

The report, drawn from a survey of 458 rough sleepers, comes as Crisis is calling on members of the public to urge their MPs to back the Homelessness Reduction Bill, currently going through Parliament.

On Wednesday Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to put “prevention at the heart of tackling homelessness” as she has unveiled £20 million of funding to stop people becoming rough sleepers on the streets of London.

Mrs May also announced £10 million backing for projects aimed at helping those at “imminent risk” of becoming homeless, the money coming from a national £50 million fund announced in October.

Picture: A homeless man in Victoria, London. Almost 80 per cent of people sleeping rough were attacked or suffered abuse or anti-social behaviour over the past year, a homelessness charity said. (Yui Mok/PA).