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Caring for Syrian refugees & other trauma survivors

On 8 December, the Law Centre held a roundtable to help shape Northern Ireland’s response to support incoming Syrian refugees and others with protection needs.

Northern Ireland is committed to accepting Syrian refugees through an extension of the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.  Among the current priority groups are refugees who have medical needs or who have survived violence and torture.

Supporting Syrian survivors of trauma

The meeting, attended by concerned NGOs and statutory servicers, considered what specialist healthcare provision is required to support them, from early identification to long term treatment.

Greg Straton of SPIRASI, a Dublin organisation with specialising in care and rehabilitation for survivors of torture and severe trauma, gave an overview of critical needs that require planning.

Extending services to all those in need of protection

The meeting also reflected on existing service provision in Northern Ireland to asylum seekers, the wider refugee community and victims of trafficking.

Catherine Doherty of Northern Ireland New Entrants Service, Dr Elaine Harrison of BHSCT Family Trauma Centre and GP Dr Linda Agnew detailed specialist healthcare services that can be linked into.

Fidelma O’Hagan of the Law Centre talked about what is required to support other groups of vulnerable people with protection needs, including unaccompanied minors suspected of having been trafficked or at risk of exploitation.

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