• MySTV

Tackling conflict in society 'can stop thousands becoming homeless'

Edinburgh's Cyrenians chief speaks out ahead of Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution conference.

Quality generic shot of a homeless man begging, taken by Deadline in Edinburgh
Deadline News

Scotland must tackle the "pervasive problem" of conflict in society in a bid to prevent thousands of youngsters becoming homeless as a result of family disputes, a leading campaigner has said.

Ewan Aitken, chief executive of Edinburgh's Cyrenians, made the plea ahead of a special conference organised by the charity's Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution (SCCR).

The event brings together health experts, lawyers, politicians and organisations that help the homeless in a bid to tackle how relationship breakdowns within families can lead to young people becoming homeless.

A total of 4750 people aged between 16 and 24 found themselves without home at some point in 2013-14 as a result of such disputes, according to the charity.

Mr Aitken said: "We cannot wait one minute longer to address the pervasive problem of conflict in Scottish society.

"Every year thousands of young people become homeless, their life chances left in tatters, because of family breakdown while many other parents and young people struggle behind closed doors.

"We know one in four young people think about running away from home each month because of arguments. A third of parents argue with their teenagers weekly.

"We cannot afford as a nation to hide from the impact of conflict, its affects can be devastating."

He said he was "delighted" the Faculty of Advocates has now pledged its support for the SCCR, with Mr Aitken adding he hoped "this is the springboard to others pledging to bring about real and lasting change for Scotland's young people and families".

James Wolffe QC, dean of the Faculty of Advocates, said: "The vision of the SCCR is to change the culture of conflict in our society.

"In particular, the centre seeks to reduce family conflict and help young people avoid homelessness because of family breakdown. That is an aim which we can all share and which the faculty is glad to support."

He added: "The Faculty of Advocates has been in the business of dispute resolution for over 400 years.

"Advocates are trained in skills which may be effectively deployed not only in the courtroom but also in other methods of dispute resolution.

"Mediation and other methods of alternative dispute resolution have increasing importance in our justice system — and, more broadly, in seeking to address conflict in our society — and I look forward to the faculty playing its part in these developments."

Both Mr Wolffe and Mr Aitken are speaking at the conference, along with Scotland's former chief medical officer Sir Harry Burns, who is now a professor of global public health at Strathclyde University and housing minister Margaret Burgess.

Mrs Burgess said: "Preventing homelessness among young people is a priority for the Scottish Government and we are working closely with local authorities and their partners to improve outcomes for young people facing homelessness.

"While homelessness among young people has been falling in recent years, when it does occur relationship breakdown with others has been cited as the main reason.

"That's why we're delighted to fund a national initiative like SCCR which offers early help and support to young people, their friends and families, who are in dispute and can help identify best practice amongst mediation services working to prevent homelessness across Scotland."

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.


We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.


Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.


Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.



Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.