York University shares research on gender-based violence against refugee youth

Research findings out of York University from a review on gender-based violence against refugee youth was presented during a roundtable discussion on May 30 to inform community program and service development.

"Roundtable: Gender-Based Violence in Refugee Youth:Toward Trauma-Informed Practice" was organized by Nazilla Khanlou, Women’s Health Research Chair in Mental Health and associate professor, School of Nursing, and took place as part of the "Gender-Based Violence and Refugee Youth: Toward Trauma-Informed Practice" project.

"The goal of this roundtable consultation session was to present research findings from a review on gender-based violence against refugee youth to service providers and program managers from community agencies, and to receive their input and to work with them towards developing a youth-centered and trauma-informed service delivery framework," said Khanlou.

Affiliates/students/staff of the Office of Women's Health Research Chair in Mental Health, from left to right: Negar Alamdar, Kelly Zhang, Amirtha Karunakaran, Attia Khan, Nazilla Khanlou, Tali Filler, Luz Maria Vazquez, and Funmilayo Otasanya Agbi

During the consultation, service providers, community organization representatives, academics and students responded to questions and discussed intersectional and trauma-informed approaches and strategies to address gender-based violence against refugee youth.

Existing practices and policies around gender-based violence and the uptake of “trauma informed” practices were also discussed; and the intersectionality of refugee youth identities, their context, and power relations was also closely examined, said Khanlou.

Participants also agreed that methods of inquiry, from sensitive data collection to interventions that focus on prevention, and support to victims of gender-based violence are critically needed and should be trauma-informed, guarantee safety and security, and facilitate disclosure and promote reporting.

"Participants critically appraised our gender-based violence framework and the underlying principles of the matrix of acceptance and resistance," she said. The event, Khanlou said, "highlighted York University as a high-quality research and learning institution that focuses on promoting human rights-based and gender transformative policies and practices through community collaboration."

Presentations and interactive discussions during the roundtable also highlighted the diversity of perspectives ranging across the intersections of gender, migrant status, context and power.

“Policies and practices around gender, violence, youth and refugee resettlement are constantly reshaped in the face of war, conflict, global politics, migration trends and the resettlement of displaced women, youth and children," said Khanlou. "To arrive at solutions, we need to collaborate with our community partners to understand which trauma-informed approaches are grounded in the lived experience of refugee youth who have experienced gender-based violence.”

The roundtable was funded by the LaMarsh Centre for Child and Youth Research, York University and Canadian Crime and Victim Foundation (CCVF).

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