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Chapter Five: Assessment

Aida Alayarian Karnac Books ePub

Assessing resilience and vulnerability in children who have endured trauma

Although psychoanalysis is mainly practised privately, therapeutic intervention for children of refugees, asylum seekers, and unaccompanied minors is, by and large, catered for by CAMHS, social services, schools, and other voluntary and statutory services. Within this context, I see our tasks as therapists to be:

Working to serve children and young people of refugees who typically have little faith or trust in themselves or their parents and whose views are often not understood or valued in institutional settings and in which they may be met with suspicion and even contempt is challenging. Although it is not without challenge, the intercultural therapeutic approach can be much more helpful for an effective outcome. We need to accept that we all might have preconceived notions about what is best for others and, working interculturally, we need to constantly remind ourselves to come back to what people themselves are asking for—and not what we want to give them. Putting this perspective into practice is essential for ensuring services are relevant and meaningful for those we set out to serve.

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Chapter Six: Resilience

Aida Alayarian Karnac Books ePub

Resilience and vulnerability

This chapter focuses on the methodology and evaluation of the development of a resilience approach. Using case studies, this chapter further explores a resilience-focused approach to working with children of refugees and unaccompanied minors. I will be illustrating two vignettes, a boy and a girl, whom I shall call Abdul and Nastaran.

What is the problem?

The frequently held view has been on deficit, disorder, problem behaviour paradigm with too much emphasis on risk factors that define what is wrong, missing, or abnormal, rather than considering the roots of a person presenting problem and how they can be helped to make positive changes. Viewing people's difficulties through a deficit lens proscribes grasping and valuing strengths, resources, resilience, and capabilities. This leads professionals to categorise individuals, families, and groups only for their vulnerability to negative life outcomes. Risk factors have historically been identified as biological, psychological, cognitive, and environmental conditions impeding normal developmental processes. Once normal development is delayed, vulnerability is increased. This particular view labels people according to their problems or deficits without recognising their resilience.

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Chapter Ten: Community Engagement

Aida Alayarian Karnac Books ePub

What is community engagement and what does good engagement look like? In reference to refugee children and young people the first thing surely would be communities’ active participation as a whole, including local residents and community groups. It is necessary to develop a range of interactions which are suitable, indeed useful for all parties involved, such as simple information sharing through supporting community activities, and creating connections with existing organisations at the intersection of the local, national and international services for the exchange and dissemination of knowledge. Community engagement strategies may be deployed to hand some of the responsibility from the State to local communities and non-statutory organisations involving the dissemination and publication of good practice and useful projects in developing countries. We need to rethink how we talk about refugee children's needs who have been tortured and to engage with our local and global communities for the rehabilitation and care of those children. This book addresses issues that are provocative, critical, and challenging, and which need careful examination to learn best practices, taking into consideration community engagement as one of the major points. Focusing on the front lines in communities and the extraordinary diversity within each community is needed to uncover best strategies that seek to provide appropriate support to children who have been tortured and seek sanctuary. Based on these strategies, the structure of services needs to take into consideration the characteristics of each individual child and the community the child is from, indeed the common culture and traditions, knowledge and the decisions that affect the child's life.

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Chapter Five: The Rule of Law

Aida Alayarian Karnac Books ePub

In searching for a definition of the Rule of Law, I realised that there is no single universal definition. There is a need for a clear and specific definition of what constitutes torture for children. Such clarification would work towards the deliberation and prohibition of torture on children. The basic principle is that all people and institutions are subject to and accountable to law that is fairly applied to all and enforceable.

The World Justice Project stated that the Rule of Law is:

A system in which the following four universal principles are upheld:

These four universal principles are further developed in the following nine factors of the World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index, which measures how the rule of law is experienced by ordinary people in 99 countries around the globe. (In: http://worldjusticeproject.org/what-rule-law)

Despite the lack of a clear universal meaning of the concept of the rule of law, some issues that definitely need to be taken to considerations are the following:

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CHAPTER FIVE: Twentieth-century genocide: brief examples from history

Aida Alayarian Karnac Books ePub

“The man who wrote that word upon the wall disappeared from the midst of the generations of man many centuries ago; the word, in its turn, has been effaced from the wall of the church; the church will, perhaps, itself soon disappear from the face of the earth” (Hugo, 1831, p. viii)

The twentieth century was marked by unparalleled human cruelty, ethno-political conflict, war, terrorism, and genocide. Unfortunately, the trend towards mass violence is continuing unabated into the twenty-first century. During the past century, government genocidal policies alone resulted in over 210 million deaths: eighty per cent of these were civilian deaths (170 million) and represent nearly four times the number of individuals killed in combat during international and domestic wars during this same period of time (Robinson, 1998; Rummel, 1996).

In a time when human rights violations and structural violence continue to occur in many countries, indicating enormous disrespect not just to human rights, but also to human life, in both physical and psychological terms, it becomes important to look at the historical roots and long-term effects of such violence. This can enable a closer and cross-cultural understanding of the psychosocial roots of human cruelty and organized mass violence, and the serious consequences of ignoring these. This is particularly important in relation to the prevention of such tragedies for future generations.

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