Blurring the distinction between offender and victim: youth and homelessness
Culturally, socially, political, temporally and historically defined.
o Not static.
Social divisions and victimisation interconnected:
o Experience of crime.
o Recognition as victim.
o Response to victimisation.
Significant divisions where power inequalities, marginalisation, social
inclusion/exclusion can be mapped include sex, race and ethnicity, class, and
o Categories of age are not natural or fixed.
o Characteristics attributed to age categories are culturally produced and
o Age-appropriate behaviour and identity, the „life course‟ has changed
and continues to change.
o Innocence – developing maturity - responsibility.
Young adult Adolescence Age, crime and responsibility:
Iran 9 ♀15 ♂
Defining and categorising youth
Childhood and youth as categories constitutive of diversity.
Yet there is a naturalistic tendency to regard them as a necessary and universal
An ill-defined and variable period of the life-span between infancy and
People under the age of 25
Young people as offenders and victims
The study of youth victimisation emerged in the 1990s.
High levels of youth victimisation.
Sexual & physical abuse.
o Less serious:
Crime between peers. Victimisation of young people tends to be under-reported.
o Taken less seriously: „part of growing up‟.
Youth category often associated with the „problem of youth‟ where society
seeks to control & disempower.
Hence, much victimisation is likely to remain hidden.
The street as a home
The term „street children‟ refers to young people for whom the street more
than their family has become their real home.
Suggested to include young people who might not necessarily be homeless or
without families, but who live in situations without adequate protection,
supervision, or direction from responsible adults.
Stigma from the street:
o The public view of young (or any) people on the street is
overwhelmingly negative in many countries.
o The public has often supported efforts to get people off the street, even
though they may result in police round ups.
o Tendency by some law enforcement personnel and civilians, business
proprietors and their private security firms, to view people living on
the street as sub-human.
o “Acts are not, they become. So also with crime. Crime does not exist.
Crime is created. First there are acts. Then follows a long process of
giving meaning to those acts”.
Destroys the credibility of the normative.
o Conformity (cultural & social) and the family as normative behaviour
Deviant behaviour & interactions & expectations.
o Damages the expectations of cultural conformity.
o Family as site of emotional life & learning.
o Damages the character of the individuals.
Street life as normative
Idealized, normative identity and conduct of street life provides another social
milieu for the individual to achieve full acceptance by the population that he
or she chooses to assimilate into.
Can employ „identifiers‟ to establish him/herself as „normal‟.
Loss of feelings of ambivalence and alienation emerge as a result of changing
context of social intercourse.
Vagrancy Act 1824
In recent years the number of homeless people sleeping out has risen, and the
use of the Act has increased dramatically, especially in Greater London (Met
In 1988, in England and Wales, some 573 people were prosecuted and
convicted under the Act. In May 1990, the National Association of Probation
Officers surveyed prosecutions in 14 Magistrates Courts in cent