Factors associated with violent victimisation among homeless adults in Sydney, Australia
Article first published online: 4 AUG 2009
© 2009 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2009 Public Health Association of Australia
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Volume 33, Issue 4, pages 347–351, August 2009
How to Cite
Larney, S., Conroy, E., Mills, K. L., Burns, L. and Teesson, M. (2009), Factors associated with violent victimisation among homeless adults in Sydney, Australia. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 33: 347–351. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2009.00406.x
- Issue published online: 4 AUG 2009
- Article first published online: 4 AUG 2009
- Submitted: February 2009 Revision requested: March 2009 Accepted: April 2009
- homeless persons;
- crime victims
Objective: To determine the prevalence and correlates of violent victimisation among homeless people in inner-Sydney.
Method: Cross-sectional design. Clients of a shelter for homeless, substance-using adults were interviewed about their drug use, mental health and violent victimisation in the previous 12 months. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with victimisation.
Results: Participants reported complex drug use histories and high levels of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders. Forty-eight per cent of participants reported past year victimisation. In univariate analyses, being female, schizophrenia/psychotic disorder, PTSD, depression and regular use of psychostimulants were associated with increased risk of victimisation. In multivariate analyses, regular use of psychostimulants (odds ratio [95% CI] 5.07 [1.53-16.84]), schizophrenia or other psychotic disorder (3.13 [1.24-7.9], and depression (2.65 [1.07-6.59]) were associated with increased risk of victimisation.
Conclusions and implications: This sample of homeless, substance-using adults experienced high levels of violence. People with poor mental health and regular psychostimulant users were at greater risk of victimisation. A longitudinal study to determine whether victimisation prolongs homelessness is warranted. Clinical staff working with homeless populations need to be aware of the likelihood of past and future victimisation and its effects on mental health. Homeless persons may benefit from learning to identify risk situations for victimisation and how to de-escalate potentially violent situations.