films that make a difference
Every day hundreds of children are forced to leave home. According to charities like Shelter, the number of homeless children is bound to rise as a result of the recent government budget cuts. To see what is in store, Dispatches follows 4 teenagers fending for themselves on the streets, in a world defined by drugs, conflict and risk.
In Edinburgh 16 year old Robyn is a street veteran. She left home aged 12, soon after she was forced to inject herself with heroin. Now she wrestles with her addiction and demons, so that ‘someone will hear my voice’.
For 16 year old Chelsey, ‘every day is a battle’ – mainly with South London’s housing officers - to find secure accommodation. Having been kicked out of several hostels, she’s running out of options.17 year old Sophie refuses to deal with the ‘system’ at all, preferring to ‘sofa surf’ in Bristol’s squats in a state of drug-fuelled flux.
Haydon is 17 but is barely equipped to face the world on his own. Recently evicted by his mother, he is soon desperate to leave the bed & breakfast where he is placed: ‘I don’t want my independence yet, I’m too young’.
All are remarkably eloquent about why they take flight: family breakdowns, addiction, violence, neglect and abuse. An acute lack of adequate parenting is the unspoken truth behind their stories. A severe lack of consistent and effective care once they have left home becomes their reality.