Street children: a comparative perspective

Child Abuse Negl. 1999 Aug;23(8):759-70. doi: 10.1016/s0145-2134(99)00047-2.


Objective: This paper examines the findings from recent studies of street children in Ethiopia.

Methods: Following a discussion of the term "street children," comparisons are drawn between Latin American and Ethiopian street children in terms of gender, age, reasons for going to the streets, family relations and structure, delinquency, drug use, groups and the outcomes of street life. In particular, the victimization of street children in Ethiopia is examined.

Results: Widespread abuse of street children was reported. More than half of the street boys questioned reported being "regularly" physically attacked. Street life is also highly victimogenic for street girls. Sexual offences, in particular, were widespread. Forty four percent had been raped and a further 26% had been sexually attacked.

Conclusions: Similarities between Latin American street children and their Ethiopian counterparts regarding gender, background and street life experiences are noted. Comparisons concerning the victimization of street children were not possible, as this is an issue that is relatively unexamined in the Latin American context. Also, issues such as the developmental outcomes of street life and the process of leaving street life remain to be examined.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Abuse*
  • Ethiopia
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • Homeless Youth*
  • Humans
  • Latin America
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Substance-Related Disorders