Posted by: ayrshirehealth | January 13, 2016

Until there’s a home for everyone by @MrsRuthRobin

Running away

ShelterPeople can choose to go missing or run away for a variety of reasons, for some it is the only way out of a difficult situation, for some it’s a cry for help and to obtain the attention of others – seen as the only way out of a problem or sequence of events.

The reasons for running away or going missing are as individual and unique as the circumstances of the person.

Missing Persons Strategy

The Scottish Government National Missing Persons Strategy has allowed Shelter Scotland to talk to different audiences about ‘Running Away’ by recognising the huge safety concerns and vulnerability for young people who go missing.  Missing People Graphic

Since 2011 Shelter Scotland has delivered the Safe and Sound’ project in Dundee. Our aim then, and now, is to reduce youth homelessness where possible by offering support and assistance to young people and their families – we offer a range of interventions including family mediation via our partners Relationship Scotland.

During this current financial year we have helped 125 young people and their families to improve relationships and either return to their family home or plan for independent living with the support and guidance of their families. This in itself cannot be underestimated, we have all relied on the guidance and generosity of family and friends when moving into our first homes.

When these relationships fail and your safety net is gone, having a service can help rebuild your network.

Ran Away

Young People under 25 who have ‘ran away’ triggers our involvement. We work alongside Police SCOTLAND to identify those young people and conduct the return home interviews. Missing fullThis has proved to be hugely beneficial as over 90% of referred young people engage with our ‘Youth Project Workers’ acknowledging that the skills of our staff in working with young people has been of huge value.

Our young people feedback “I wasn’t listened to” and have attributed this to a power imbalance with teachers and parents – our team act as advocates and offer support to ensure young people are heard and their views are taken seriously.

Undertaking the return home interviews after they have been safely returned home has also been of huge benefit, away from the eye of the storm when emotions are high we are often able to understand what is going on and why they felt running away was the answer.

Running from – running to?

The purpose of this is two fold ‘what are you running from’ and ‘what are you running to’ our experience has shown us how vulnerable young people are when they run away. In recognition of the incidents our young people have experienced we have developed a Child Sexual Exploitation questionnaire that allows us to quickly determine if the young person is at risk of, or has been exposed to, harm. Missing walking awayWorryingly this is more common that you would perhaps anticipate – our young people have been exposed to sexual assault, revenge porn, grooming as well as finding themselves in the company of individuals who are likely to cause them harm.

In 2014 there were 36,210 applications to Scottish Local Authorities for assistance under the Homeless Legislation. 21% of all applications came from single adults under 25 years of age – this is of huge concern and our work in Dundee is to reduce the impact of homelessness on young people – we see the daily impact of this and therefore understand the severity.  We know that young people are less likely to reach their potential if they have suffered periods of homelessness, we also know from experience that the impact on their wellbeing is significant often impacting mental health, use of substances both legal and illegal, risk taking behaviour and impacting relationships with parents, siblings and friends.

Until there’s a home for everyone

Missing StreetOver 50% of all applications made to Scottish Local Authorities are as a result of Disputes within a household or relationship breakdown – in Scotland we need to do more – being able to support young people to make healthy choices and plan for their future is in the interests of our families and Scotland as a whole.

The relationships we have with those we love is of critical importance, positive relationships as a teenager will inevitably impact the relationships we have as adults – improving them or repairing them has so many other consequences.

Unfortunately for some the sanctuary of home does not exist. Until there is a home for everyone….

Until there’s a home for everyone.

This week’s blog was by @MrsRuthRobin (Ruth Robin), Housing Support Manager for Shelter Scotland.

Further information can be found in the links below. advice for everyone’s online housing law resource


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