LGBT homeless youth and policing

LGBT homeless youth are a particularly vulnerable population, accounting for 20–40% of all homeless youth. Literature demonstrates that these youth are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system. Involvement in the justice system frequently begins with a police contact, about which relatively little is understood. Fear of the police among LGBT homeless youth is likely common, and police may be ill-equipped to interact with and assist these youth, even when programs specific to improving police-LGBT relations are present. The present exploratory study examines how LGBT homeless youth and police interact by presenting findings from 18 interviews with formerly homeless LGBT youths (now adults), LGBT advocates, and police officers. Findings reveal that fear of the police and reports of discriminatory actions by police are common, LGBT youth have difficulty accessing services, and police often report being limited in how they can help this population.

LGBT homeless youth are a particularly vulnerable population, accounting for 20–40% of all homeless youth. Literature demonstrates that these youth are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system. Involvement in the justice system frequently begins with a police contact, about which relatively little is understood. Fear of the police among LGBT homeless youth is likely common, and police may be ill-equipped to interact with and assist these youth, even when programs specific to improving police-LGBT relations are present. The present exploratory study examines how LGBT homeless youth and police interact by presenting findings from 18 interviews with formerly homeless LGBT youths (now adults), LGBT advocates, and police officers. Findings reveal that fear of the police and reports of discriminatory actions by police are common, LGBT youth have difficulty accessing services, and police often report being limited in how they can help this population.

File Type: 1402738
Categories: Case Studies, Current Issues, Ethics, Practitioner & Policy Ex., Public Policy, Social Equity