The rough sleeping homeless cohort is a marginalised population that has steadily increased over the past 10 years, across the United Kingdom (UK). Understanding this type of homelessness and the vulnerabilities associated with it is crucial, as it is often misconstrued due to policy ambiguity. This article examines rough sleepers as a vulnerable cohort and explores the precursors that lead to them becoming vulnerable and subsequently victimised. The key findings revealed that rough sleepers frequently endure implicit and explicit modes of exploitation. Their implicit exploitation puts them in a position of vulnerability that affects their ability to trust the public, statutory and third sector organisations. This questions their belonging in society and forces them to establish new ties and bonds, which exposes them to additional vulnerabilities. The explicit exploitation is the mere exposure of living in the streets, which puts them at greater risk of being victimised by the public, statutory bodies and criminal groups. This article concludes by offering practical recommendations of how the issue of rough sleeping can be better addressed via multi-agency, governmental, and academic work.
Keywords: Rough sleeping, vulnerability, victimisation, trust, community, exploitation
Vol 3, Issue 1, April 2022