Tackling family conflict ‘could help prevent youth homelessness in Scotland’

Written by Kate Shannon on 18 February 2015 in News

Civic Scotland, politicians and the third sector must work together says charity

Thousands of teenagers will continue to become homeless every year unless Scotland changes its “ingrained attitude” towards family conflict, according to a charity.

Latest Scottish Government figures said nearly 5,000 young people across Scotland became homeless in 2014 due to relationship breakdowns.

However, the Edinburgh Cyrenians said this is the tip of the iceberg, with many households struggling behind closed doors with conflict, arguments, and fall-outs.

We know one in four young people think about running away from home each month because of arguments

Chief executive Ewan Aitken said the country can’t wait “one minute longer” to address the “pervasive” problem of conflict.

He added: “Every year thousands of young people become homeless, their life chances left in tatters, because of family breakdown, while many other parents and young people struggle behind closed doors.”

The Cyrenians said civic Scotland, politicians and the third sector must work together if Scotland is to stop thousands of young people becoming homeless each year due to domestic breakdown.

Aitken continued: “We know one in four young people think about running away from home each month because of arguments.

“A third of parents argue with their teenagers weekly.

“We cannot afford as a nation to hide from the impact of conflict, its affects can be devastating.”

The Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution (SCCR), run by Edinburgh Cyrenians and funded by the Scottish Government, was set up last year to provide families with support and advice on how to solve conflicts.

A conference organised by SCCR and featuring experts from the worlds of health, law, homelessness charities and politicians was held in Edinburgh today.

Speaking about his backing for the SCCR, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates James Wolffe QC said: “The vision of the SCCR is to change the culture of conflict in our society.

“In particular, the Centre seeks to reduce family conflict and help young people avoid homelessness because of family breakdown.

“That is an aim which we can all share, and which the Faculty is glad to support.”

Picture credit: Ian Jacobs

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