Childrearing under fire: Implications for child protection

Dr. Bree Akesson

As a result of the ongoing civil war in Syria, approximately 6.5 million Syrians have been displaced within Syria and an additional three million have been exiled as refugees in neighbouring Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq. Representing half of the refugee population, women and children are disproportionately affected by war. In addition to its devastating physical consequences, war compromises children’s protective social systems (such family and community), necessary for healthy development. Mothers are particularly affected by war, facing violence, displacement to unfamiliar surroundings, disruptions of social support systems, and lack of access to basic needs. Although all war-affected populations may experience stress associated with conflict, flight, and displacement, mothers (especially those who are pregnant or who are raising young children) may suffer from this stress differently, as they find themselves struggling to meet the needs of their family while also meeting their own physical needs. Despite the importance of support for mothers living in the context of war, there is little research directly addressing this topic as it relates to child protection, and even less using the context of Syria. This research project—using place-based research methods with families—aims to generate knowledge regarding the experiences of Syrian refugee mothers (specifically those who are pregnant or those raising very young children), as a means by which to better understand and address child protection issues.

For further information or questions, please contact project lead Dr. Bree Akesson ([email protected])