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'Thank you for asking me about my story': An exploration of the perspectives of forced migrant parents, practitioners and strategic actors in South Wales

Prowle, Alison 2022. 'Thank you for asking me about my story': An exploration of the perspectives of forced migrant parents, practitioners and strategic actors in South Wales. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis presents a multi-disciplinary, qualitative study of how the needs of refugee and asylum-seeking parents in Wales are supported. The study comprises three aspects, drawn from (i) interviews with parents (n=10), (ii) practitioners (n=33) and (iii) strategic actors (n=15). The participants represent two case study areas, a city context (experienced at supporting refugee families), and valleys communities hosting Syrian refugees for the first time. Like much of the migration literature, this study is context specific, and represents a moment in time when three geopolitical factors collide, the 2012 refugee “crisis” (sic), the Brexit Debate, and, as the research ended, a global pandemic. The research considers the experiences of the parents, focusing on constructions of identity, belonging, needs and aspirations. Issues of practice are also explored with an emphasis on cultural competence, strengths-based approaches, multi-agency working and practitioner self-care. Strategic considerations including the UK systems for asylum and protection, devolution, austerity, and community cohesion are also explored. Throughout the thesis, the voices of the participants and the obligations on the researcher to bring about social good are prioritised. The research explores the lived experiences of asylum-seeking parents in Wales, often characterised by constrained circumstances, uncertainty, lengthy waits for asylum judgements, alongside the challenges of integrating into a new society and grieving for what has been left behind. One of the biggest challenges for families and the practitioners that support them, is negotiating bureaucratic and often opaque Home Office procedures. These systems, all too often, stand in stark contrast to the Welsh Parliament’s vision of Wales as a Nation of Sanctuary. For things to improve significantly, Welsh Government would need an extension to existing devolved powers, to move their vision beyond rhetoric and into reality. However, the rhetoric of sanctuary does have some impact, and most parents in the study liked living in Wales and found it a welcoming host nation. Nonetheless, there was some evidence that the Brexit vote in 2016 had contributed to some parents feeling less welcome. At the practice level, parents were supported by committed, passionate, empathetic, and culturally aware practitioners. However, high workloads, insecure funding and budget cuts were ever present challenges. At a strategic level, there was a strong recognition of the importance of providing a supportive welcome to forced migrant families. However, this was constrained by austerity policies, post Brexit uncertainties, competing priorities and limitations of current devolved powers. The study highlighted the potential for developing a strength–based and distinctly Welsh approach to hosting forced migrant families, focusing on agency, autonomy and reciprocity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 August 2022
Last Modified: 06 May 2023 01:05

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