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Straker, G. (1994). The interface between refugee groups and assistance groups: an exploration of dynamics and the design of a treatment programme. Free Associations, 4(3):320-337.

(1994). Free Associations, 4(3):320-337


The interface between refugee groups and assistance groups: an exploration of dynamics and the design of a treatment programme

Gillian Straker

This article was written in response to a request from a number of refugee centres for the development of a programme for their staff members so that they could better understand the behaviour of groups of young militants in their centres. This request was informed by the fact that time and again groups of refugees would arrive seeking shelter, and within a very short time - a number of days - would have become overtly aggressive towards centres offering such shelter. The development of their aggression also seemed to follow a fairly standard pattern. Its first manifestation was usually around basic needs concerning:

(a)  food;

(b)  toileting and ablution facilities; or

(c)  sleeping arrangements.

A similar pattern has been reported by others working with refugees in completely different contexts, such as natural disasters.

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