Scotland

Family breakdown link to youth homelessness

Unidentified girl on bench Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Almost 5,000 young people became homeless in 2014 due to relationship breakdowns, Scottish government figures show.

Too many children in Scotland are becoming homeless because of arguments at home, a charity has claimed.

The Edinburgh Cyrenians said more needs to be done to tackle "ingrained attitudes" towards conflict.

The family mediation charity is holding a conference in Edinburgh later to discuss the issue.

The latest Scottish government figures show almost 5,000 young people became homeless in 2014 due to relationships breaking down.

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.

They have invited experts from the fields of healthcare, law and politics to the conference.

It is hoped it will act as a "springboard to safeguard the life chances of Scotland's youngsters."

Family breakdown

Ewan Aitken, Edinburgh Cyrenian CEO, said a survey by the charity in 2013 found one in four young people think about running away from home each month because of arguments and a third of parents argue with their teenagers every week.

He said: "We cannot wait one minute longer to address the pervasive problem of conflict in Scottish society.

"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 conference comes as the Faculty of Advocates announced its backing for the SCCR.

James Wolffe QC, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, said he was glad to lend his support.

He said: "Mediation and other methods of alternative dispute resolution have increasing importance in our justice system - and, more broadly in seeking to address conflict in our society - and I look forward to the Faculty playing its part in these developments."

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