Psychosocial issues affecting the clients attending a novel sexual health service for the Homeless

Psychosocial issues affecting the clients attending a novel

sexual health service for the Homeless

T. M. Groom, A. McLellan, M. Kennedy, A. H.


Sandyford Initiative, Glasgow, UK

Background Over 50,000

Homeless presentations are made to local authorities in Scotland each year.

Previous work has demonstrated an unmet sexual health need. A Homeless sexual

health service was set up locally in order to provide a flexible and accessible

service for this vulnerable group and to establish links to mainstream services.

Objective To look at psychosocial issues affecting clients attending the

service to improve understanding of the needs of the client group.


Electronic records and case notes from our first service users were examined and

information regarding addictions; domestic, physical and sexual violence; mental

health issues, and prostitution were extracted. The primary reason for

attendance was also recorded.

Results Forty-six clients, 10 men and 36 women average

age 27.7yrs(range 17-44). 27 clients (60%) had a history of intravenous dug use,

12 of 40(30%) clients asked had problems with alcohol, 24of 32(75%) of women and

4 of 9 (44%) of men had suffered sexual violence.18 of 30(60%) women asked had

experienced domestic violence, and 7 of 10 men serious physical assault.13 of 30

(43%) women asked had also been involved in prostitution. 23 of 42(55%) clients

had mental health problems. These first clients made 72 attendances (range 1-4)

and failed to attend for 63 appointments (range 0-5 per client). 20/46(43%)

attended for a sexual health screen. 8/46(17%) attended for contraception, 4

women had gynaecological concerns, 4 had concerns regarding pregnancy, one

attended following a sexual assault and 4 for miscellaneous reasons.


Clients attending our service have a complex range of health and social issues.

Effective work with this client group will require an understanding and flexible


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