Zoe Pellatt

Case Study 2: Rehabilitation and Reintegration

Discuss psychosocial factors that might affect this child.

Susan is vulnerable to numerous psychosocial factors as a result of a gender and traumatic experience. Although boys can be subjected see and carry out extremely dressing acts (including rape), girls have to cope with the added issue of pregnancy through rape and a higher probability of contracting sexual transmitted diseases.
Susan experienced a significant change socially and economically when her and her family moved to a refugee camp to seek ‘protection’ and be safe guarded. Now having adapted to life in the camp and ‘normalising’ her routine by attending school her life was again significantly disrupted. However on this occasion she has been separated from her family and friends and therefore has no one to protect or comfort her. She has been physically and mental abused and as a result may be affected by the following:
· Difficulty socially integrating and relating to peers.
· Emotional issues and employment of inadequate coping mechanisms.
· Feelings of abandonment and resentment towards her family and child (family because they were unable to protect her or save her/ child due to the content reminder of her trauma and experience)
· Intimacy issues (Due to abuse and rape)
· Yearns for a sense of normality and routine (what is normal?)
· Risk of repressing memories that may manifest themselves as psychological issues, potentially hindering development
· Vulnerable, unprotected, isolated
· Trust issues with people in positions of authority notably, military personnel.
· Inability to effectively channel emotions and constructively vent anger, depression etc.
· Lack or inability to emphasise, sympathise or forge relationships both sexual and non sexual.
· Problems with personal space, intimacy and trust.
· Ashamed

Develop a PLAN OF ACTION for the social reintegration and rehabilitation of this child.

Comprise a comprehensive rehabilitation programme, which will comprise of both short and long term practices . “Activities that supported long term reintegration and self-sufficiency included community acceptance and forgiveness, traditional cleansing and healing rituals, livelihoods and apprenticeships” (Boothby et al,p21,2006)
Most issues regarding social reintegration and rehabilitation are intertwined it is therefore important to identify ‘key’ focus areas. For example- social awareness, integration and forging relationships (this will discuss both social and physical ‘norms’, what actions/emotions are appropriate) - It is important to reiterate that the programme would not be designed to ‘condition’ or universalise the child but to encourage independent thought and growth in a more control and supportive environment.
Rehabilitation programme:
1. Establish rules, ‘norms’ and a code of conduct to aid in formulating relationships with a variety of peers.
2. Provide mental and physical health assessments and appropriate sessions thereafter.
3. Skill training/education and vocational programmes – Economic income.
4. Life skills (including parenting skills and advice) - Social functioning.
5. Develop classes, games and activities to promote social interaction.
6. Counseling- develop a ‘safe’ environment for the child to freely talk and supply various mediums for them to express themselves ie art work, acting, singing etc
7. Train a network of older trust women for community mediation and reintegration.
8. Legal advice.

What do you suspect might be the problems/pitfalls of this PLAN?

“Specialized medical care for physical injury resulting from rape or sexually transmitted diseases is rarely available. Girl mothers and their children, often born of rape, are known to be particularly vulnerable, but continue to suffer stigmatization and rejection by their families and communities” (Child soldiers report, p28, 2008).
There are social, contextual and gender issues to consider. The combination of the three could prove to be problematic when comprising an effective and sufficient rehabilitation programme for Susan.
Potential problems/pitfalls:
· Funding may not be available to comprehensively support all stages of rehabilitation
· Access to facilities and professionals may be extremely limited. For example if the only physician available is a man, Susan may refuse treat and drop out of the rehabilitation programme.
· Susan may need more time at particular stages
· Distrust and lack of confidence may result in the child becoming withdrawn and disinterested or mentally unable to cope with the process for reintegration.
· Susan may lie about her experience in order to either repress traumatic memories or reduce the risk of being stigmatized within their own community.

How might you alleviate these problems/pitfalls?

Some of the potential problems faced by rehabilitation programmes cannot be fully resolved. However, steps can be taken to alleviate these issues by being culturally, contextually and socially sensitive.
· Be gender sensitive when selecting doctors, counsellors etc to increase the chance of the child sharing and divulging sensitive information.
· Noting the significant impact psychosocial factors would have on female child soldiers. This may lead them to lie (to hold face to the community and minimize the chance of marginalisation) – log all sessions and significant pieces of information. Try to (where appropriate) marry this information with data from the field to determine gaps. Most importantly identify why the child has lied.
· Individually assess each child’s needs and prioritise them. This ensures that even with limited funding the most significant/important stages would have been completed.
“The context-specific characteristics of gender discrimination, sexual exploitation and abuse require careful analysis to identify the particular vulnerabilities of girls and the types of discrimination in the communities to which they return” (Child soldiers report, 2008)