Methods: Specifically, this symposium brings together four cross-cutting original research investigations under the cluster of “Immigrants and Refugees”. While the four studies were conducted with diverse groups of forced migrants (Afghan refugees in Iran, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender refugees and asylum seekers in the United States and Canada) and service providers (torture-treatment providers in the United States and refugee and asylum-seeker service providers in Canada), their themes are interconnected on providing evidence-based recommendations for social work practice with forced migrants in host communities.
The first study in this symposium focuses on three different indexes and measurement approaches for quantifying deprivation and poverty among refugees. The second study examines the inter-observer reliability of a comprehensive tool used by service providers in torture treatment for assessing the varied needs of torture survivors. These two presentations are based on cross-sectional surveys (N=2,034 and N=47, respectively) and provide empirically-based findings and recommendations for social workers conducting multi-dimensional assessments. The third study and the fourth both focus on the needs of forced migrants who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) and are based on qualitative research methodology (N= 29 and N=26, respectively). These studies provide in-depth knowledge about resettlement experiences and recommendations for social workers in two major areas: 1) how to help LGBT forced migrants cope with mental health effects of concealing a stigma, and 2) how to help LGBT forced migrants express their sexual and gender identity in a manner that is culturally sensitive and acceptable to them.
Conclusions and Implications: The symposium focuses on the contemporary forced displacement crisis and through research evidence builds a more comprehensive understanding of challenges that forced migrants, specifically refugees and asylum seekers, experience in host countries. More importantly, the symposium provides evidence-based recommendations for social work practice with forced migrants by offering original findings on: 1) unidimensional and multidimensional poverty assessment techniques, 2) multi-systemic approach to needs assessment for torture survivors, and 3) resettlement challenges faced by LGBT forced migrants.