The primary goal of this study was to develop an understanding of the role of violence in the lives of homeless women and men. The objectives were to determine how many women and men have experienced some form of violence in their lives either as children or adults, the factors associated with experiences of
violence, the consequences of violence, and the types of interactions with the justice system.
The survey instrument used for this study was developed from an initial focus grouop involving six homeless women conducted in November 2002 and was finalized in April 2003.
Interviewers in each of four Florida cities (Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa) were recruited from among existing shelter staff. All interviewers were highly experienced in dealing with homeless women and their problems, and all took on their interviewing jobs as a supplement to their normal work roles. Interviewers were largely case managers, who came into contact with issues of victimization on a daily basis. Interviewers were
paid $30 for each interview they conducted. Respondents received $10 for their efforts, and the facility received an additional $10 to cover overhead costs.
Interviewers were trained to conduct their normal intake process and at that point ask the client if they were willing to participate in a study conducted by the faculty at the University of Central Florida and funded by the National Institute of Justice. All participants signed a consent form that outlined the purpose and goals of the study.
The survey sample was comprised of about 200 face-to-face interviews with homeless women in each city. In all, 737 women were interviewed. In addition, 91 face-to-face interviews with homeless men were also conducted only in Orlando. Homeless men were recruited in the same manner as the women. Interviewers were provided with additional training on the male survey (which was slightly shorter than the female survey) and were instructed to conduct their normal intake process.
To select women for Part 1 (Female Interviews) of the study, researchers entered into a cooperative agreement with a large, general-purpose shelter for the homeless in each of Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa. All of the shelters where respondents were solicited were general-purpose homeless facilities, not battered-women's facilities, and not special-purpose facilities devoted exclusively to teens, to the addicted, or to the mentally ill.
Researchers attempted to interview the first 200 women who came "through the door" of the participating facilities during the data collection period. Recognizing the logistical difficulties of implementing any specific sampling plan in a social service context often characterized by crisis and relative chaos, researchers allowed for some deviation from this desideratum.
Efforts were made to interview every woman who sought services at the respective facilities until the quota of 200 interviews per site was reached.
Realizing also that interviewing each woman that came through the door would not always be possible, researchers left guidelines for interviewers to randomly select from multiple women.
For Part 2 (Male Interviews), men were selected in similar fashion as females but only at the Orlando facility and only until the quota of 100 was met.
The homeless populations of Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, and Orlando, Florida, in 2003-2004.
For Part 1 (Female Interviews), the data include information related to the respondent's living conditions in the past month, lifetime experience with homelessness, the respondent's partner, and living conditions as a child. There are also variables related to childhood experience with violence, experience with forced sexual situations, adult experience with violence, and basic demographic information. As well, there is information covering such areas as experience with stalking, self-image, use of alcohol and drugs, current health, and financial status. There is also a self-report of criminal history, information related to how the respondent spent her days and evenings, and the physical environment surrounding the respondent during the day and evening. Finally, there are a small number of questions answered by the interviewer regarding the respondent and the interview itself.
For Part 2 (Male Interviews), the data include much of the same information as was collected in Part 1. Information from Part 1 not included in Part 2 primarily includes questions pertaining to experience with forced sexual situations and questions related to pregnancy and children.
The Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS)
The Personal History Form (PHF)
The Addiction Severity Index (ASI)