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Sexual Abuse and Drug Abuse Among Homeless Children in Ahvaz, Iran

NCJ Number
Child Abuse Review Volume: 22 Issue: 6 Dated: November-December 2013 Pages: 408-418
Mahmood Baratvand; Mansour Soodani; Eghbal Zarei; Abdolrahim Asadollahi
Date Published
December 2013
11 pages
This study conducted in the Ahvaz Correction Centre (ACC) in 2008 explored the relationship between variables such as drug abuse and sexual abuse and homelessness among children.
The sample consisted of 28 children (mean age=14.5 years) selected by snowball sampling. Data were collected by social workers practicing in the ACC. The mean age of children beginning life on the streets was 11.71 years, and the group lived on the streets, on average, for 2.69 years. The group was held in the ACC, on average, for 11.68 months. Sexual abuse and drug abuse were common behaviors among the children, and robust relationships were found between these variables and age during the first experience of shelter-seeking. The children had committed crimes such as pick-pocketing, sexual abuse against other children, drug addiction and drug trafficking. It was found that many of their families had a history of conflict and/or divorce and most children had a family member with a criminal record. The children were also disadvantaged by a lack of education, with illiteracy common among them and their parents. A significant relationship was established between the children's family situation and the length of their detention (r=0.47), while children who maintained links with their family members were less likely to return to crime after release from the center. Abstract published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons.