Published August 17, 2016
Congratulations to Professor Hilary Weaver on the publication of her article, "Between a rock and a hard place: A trauma-informed approach to documenting the traumatic experiences of Tamil refugees," in the Journal of Human Rights and Social Work.
Weaver, H.N. (2016). Between a rock and a hard place: A trauma-informed approach to documenting the traumatic experiences of Tamil refugees. Journal of Human Rights and Social Work. DOI 10.1007/s41134-016-0013-0
Refugees and asylum seekers typically experience dislocation, persecution, and significant cultural adjustments, making them highly vulnerable populations that deserve more attention from helping professionals. As a profession grounded in human rights and committed to serving disenfranchised populations, social work is well situated to attend to the needs of refugees, asylum seekers, and other displaced populations. These populations often experience multiple forms of trauma from their own governments as well as from rebel forces. This project models a trauma-informed approach to research using an assessment tool tailored to the South Asian Tamil population. Data are presented on the traumatic experiences and related sequelae for 30 Tamils living in the USA and Canada. The majority experienced multiple traumatic events including lack of food or clean water, being displaced, lack of shelter, ill health without access to medical care, murder of a family member or someone known, being detained, and beatings. Most respondents reported dwelling on their traumatic experiences, feeling as though they were happening again, feeling hopeless, recurrent bad dreams, and having less interest in daily activities. The data presented here can inform helping professionals about the lived experiences of this population. Considerations for helping professionals working with this population are included.