The effects of family separation on forcibly displaced people in Australia: Findings from a pilot research project

Belinda Liddell, Nicole Batch, Marta Bulnes-Diez, Sarah Hellyer, Anjali Kamte, Joshua Wong, Yulisha Byrow, Angela Nickerson
Publication Year
Asia and the Pacific
Thematic Area
Right to Know/Truth / Refugee / Psychosocial Support / Protecting/Restoring Family Links / Mental Health / Family Needs
Open access

While it is globally recognized that separation from family is a highly distressing situation, limited research has been conducted to understand the specific effects of family separation to inform practice and policy. This report summarizes the findings from a research project conducted to map the impact of family separation on forcibly displaced individuals (i.e people with a refugee background) resettled in Australia. The project was conducted by the Australian Red Cross in collaboration with the Refugee Trauma and Recovery Program (RTRP) at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. Thirteen individuals participated in semi-structured interviews and a thematic analysis was conducted. Four core domains of results emerged relating to how family separation affected participants: (1) Beliefs and values related to family unity vs. separation; (2) Direct impact of family separation; (3) Action taken to mitigate the impact of separation; (4) Coping and support mechanisms.