Perceptions of asylum seekers, refugees and professionals on receiving services: An exploratory study


Abstract


Social inclusion of asylum seekers and refugees in Western countries is an issue that requires great attention to understand the psychological aspects underlying their relationships with receiving communities and to plan suitable services for them. The proposed research explored the features of facilities for temporary reception (CASs) and of the System for the Protection of Asylum Seekers and Refugees (SPRAR) currently implemented in Tuscany (Italy). Semi-structured interviews were carried out to investigate asylum seekers’, refugees’ and professionals’ perceptions. Thematic analysis showed that the reception system appears to be characterised by both significant strengths and weaknesses: The system’s strengths consist of the peculiar features of the reception in Tuscany (small facilities in small towns with the involvement of local communities). Nevertheless, the time required to obtain asylum and the issues with local public services might produce weaknesses. The SPRAR is perceived as being more effective than CASs in promoting the integration of the hosted people and in increasing individual empowerment. Findings showed that receiving community members often have polarised attitudes and behaviours, divided between social support and exclusion and stigmatisation. This research might offer a contribution to the evaluation of the local reception system, highlighting some possible areas of improvement.


Keywords: migrants, reception system, community-based interventions, social inclusion, qualitative research

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