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People affected by ViolencE Can Community Services Promote Equality and Social Inclusion? Dr Karola Dillenburger, Ms Montse Fargas, & Mrs Rym Akhonzada.

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Presentation on theme: "People affected by ViolencE Can Community Services Promote Equality and Social Inclusion? Dr Karola Dillenburger, Ms Montse Fargas, & Mrs Rym Akhonzada."— Presentation transcript:

1 People affected by ViolencE Can Community Services Promote Equality and Social Inclusion? Dr Karola Dillenburger, Ms Montse Fargas, & Mrs Rym Akhonzada School of Sociology, Social Policy & Social Work, Queen’s University Belfast

2 Background Violence has affected most people in Northern Ireland with over 3,600 people killed and more than 40,000 injured since In the 1970s, psychiatrists argued that people affected by community violence generally reacted with astonishing resilience to the continuing violence (Fraser, 1973) and early studies that showed a different picture were largely ignored. In those early years of the Troubles, there was a lack of structured support for those affected.

3 Aims of the PAVE Project 1. Overview & categorisation of services offered to people affected by the ‘Troubles’ 2. Exploration of the effectiveness of some of the most commonly used services in regard to achieving their set aims/goals

4 Phases & Methodology PHASE 1 - Survey on 49 core-funded voluntary groups & categorisation of services provided by them; PHASE 2 - Administration of the PEIT-Q & 3 standardised Qs (GHQ, BDI & PDS) to group members in 2 assessments in order to explore the effectiveness of the services.

5 Categorisation of the services provided by the groups Psychology-based Philosophy-based Education-based Community-based

6 Why these services?

7 Elements of Exclusion/Inclusion Economical Educational Health Political Empowerment Access Belonging Safety Participation Better Health

8 Community Services sector How do these services decrease the exclusion gap? Increase opportunities for participation Remove barriers Increase opportunities for personal development and social support Increase access to resources and programs for excluded groups

9 Characteristics of service users (BLA n=50) (EEA n=24) 35 women & 15 men; most of them aged over 50 Some living in the country (n=17), inner city (n=16) or small towns (n=16). 9 of the respondents had no qualification, 11 had GCSE’s & further education qual. 33 were not in paid employment. 50% claimed to have a fair state of health and 26% good health, although 70% had seen the doctor at least twice in the last 6 months. Most of the participants (n=31) thought that they coped fairly well.

10 The experience of Trauma Lost an immediate family member (partner, son/daughter, parent, etc.) Injured/ disabled Witnessed a violent event Intimidated Relative/close friend killed Injured family member Caring somebody injured

11 Research outcomes In the BLA, participants’ scores in the 3 psychological measures were very high, showing poor psychological general health, high levels of depression and post-traumatic symptoms. But in the second assessment, findings pointed towards an overall improvement in all 3 measures. Improvements were related to protective and vulnerability factors (e.g type of traumatic event, frequency of events, physical health) and to certain services more so than others (e.g. befriending, support groups, youth work, reflexology & counseling)

12 Next steps To see if the services offered by the groups do make a difference on the psychological wellbeing of those who avail of them, more 3 months-time assessments will be carried out. Semi-structured interviews with some group members will be carried out to find out in more detail which services / activities they find they are making them feel significantly better.

13 Discussion Voluntary groups or victims groups have become a viable alternative to other forms of treatment and help These groups aim to reduce the isolation of their members, empowering them to help themselves and improve coping with the consequences of the Troubles.

14 Discussion The service users seem to be in need of some kind of social support which is provided in form of befriending and support groups as well as advice and information on life matters and needs. By and large, the members share similar experiences and concerns and feel that they are not understood well by others and that their issues are not addressed properly by the government.


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