A survey of homeless people accessing services at Cork Simon has found almost 80% had experienced four or more adverse childhood experiences, such as physicial or sexual abuse or substance misuse in the family.
Some service users, the survey showed, began using alcohol at the age of 12 and were using drugs such as cannabis by the time they left school in their mid-teens.
It further found more than 71% of those questioned had, at some stage, had suicidal thoughts and more than half had a history of self-harm.
Cork Simon conducted the survey to help improve its own services for people seeking its help.
Sophie Johnston, campaigns and communications co-ordinator, said many homeless children at present are already experiencing a significant adverse childhood experience (ACE) in the form of insecure housing.
The survey was a collaboration between Cork Simon, the School of Applied Psychology at UCC and the HSE’s Adult Homeless Integrated Team.
Source: Noel Baker, The Irish Examiner, 10/10/17