Victimisation of street children in Addis Ababa: factors of resilience and susceptibility

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Lalor, Kevin J.
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University College Cork
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Cross-cultural variations in conceptions of childhood are discussed, particularly with regard to child abuse and child labour. Regardless of cultural background, a universal minimum standard of child rearing is required. The street child literature is reviewed, culminating in an analysis of Ethiopian street children. Theoretically this work is informed by victimology. Concepts shared by victimology and rational choice perspective are discussed, after Fattah (1993a). Victim surveys are described, highlighting their accuracy of crime estimates. Juvenile prostitution, runaways and rape are examined, particularly with regard to their relevance in Addis Ababa. Fifty five male and 135 female street children were interviewed. Interviews with boys focused on delinquency. An age-related pattern emerged, with younger boys less likely to drink, chew khat, steal or be sexually active. Interviews with street girls focused on the differences between girls living on the streets (girls of the street), girls working on the streets (girls on the street) and a sample of homebased girls. Girls of the street come to the street come to the streets for many reasons. Conflicts with a parent or guardian account for almost 50%. They are highly vulnerable to sexual assaults, particularly those 43% who have worked as prostitutes. Girls on the street experience considerably less victimisation. Urban poor girls live in socio-economic circumstances akin to girls on the street but enjoy almost universal protection from victimisation because they do not spend time on the streets. Unprotected by the stability which a family provides, girls of the street experience high victimisation levels. Such victimisation is often the result of reliance on types of work, such as prostitution, which brings the girls into contact with exploitative adults. Resistance to such victimisation is provided by a secure place to sleep, companions, and relatively safe types of work. Such protective factors are more readily available to family based children as compared to those living independently.
Street children Ethiopia
Lalor, K. J. 1997. Victimisation of street children in Addis Ababa: factors of resilience and susceptibility. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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