Centre for Children in Vulnerable Situations | CCVS

CCVS | Centre for Children in Vulnerable SituationsCentre for Children in Vulnerable Situations (CCVS) is an interuniversity research centre (Ghent University, KULeuven and Vrije Universiteit Brussel), aiming at promoting the psychosocial wellbeing of children living in vulnerable situations in Southern countries. Within a context-oriented framework, three closely related pillars of activities are central: research (e.g. studies on war-affected children, victims of sexual violence, former child soldiers, street children, child labourers - in different countries, including Eastern Congo, Northern Uganda, India, Palestine and Bolivia); support for children and youth and their contexts (Eastern Congo and Northern Uganda), and, thirdly, a wide dissemination of our findings and experiences.

Promoter(s): Prof. Ilse Derluyn
Researcher(s)/contact: Leen De Nutte

Centre for the Social Study of Migration and Refugees | CESSMIR

The Centre for the Social Study of Migration and Refugees (CESSMIR) is an interdisciplinary consortium aimed at societal impact within Ghent University. CESSMIR includes about 150 researchers from seven different faculties. Three elements form the key thread in CESSMIR’s activities: interdisciplinarity, societal impact, and participation. Hence we stimulate interdisciplinary research projects and university-wide courses, organize practical trainings for practitioners and policy-makers, and we maximize the involvement of stakeholders through the research process.

Promoter(s): Prof. Ilse Derluyn
Coördinator: dr. Floor Verhaeghe

The impact of flight experiences on the psychological wellbeing of unaccompanied refugee minors | CHILDMOVE

CHILDMOVE | The impact of flight experiences on the psychological wellbeing of unaccompanied refugee minorsWorldwide, about 30 million children are currently forcibly displaced, of which a considerable group is separated from their parent(s) or caregiver(s), "unaccompanied refugee minors" (URM). Forced migration is known to considerably impact URMs' psychological wellbeing, leading to elevated levels of emotional problems. Both difficult experiences in URMs' countries of origin and post-migration stressors, such as daily material (e.g., limited housing facilities) and social stressors (e.g., limited social network, racism), and inadequate professional support impact their wellbeing. Yet, little is known about the longitudinal psychological impact of URMs' transit experiences, during the flight. The objective of this study is therefore is to increase the knowledge about the impact of experiences occurring during the flight on the psychological wellbeing of URMs, in relation to the impact of past traumatic experiences in the home country and to daily material and social stressors in the host country. This project uses a highly innovative methodology, through combining different approaches in a mixed-methods and multi-sited, cross-country and longitudinal design. The project is made up of three interlinked studies starting from four different countries: Libya, Greece, and Italy as key transit countries and Belgium as an example of a settlement country for URMs.

Promoter(s): Prof. Ilse Derluyn
Researcher(s)/contact: Sarah Adeyinka, Malte Behrendt, prof. dr. Ine Lietaert, dr. Marina Rota, Océane Uzureau, dr. Floor Verhaeghe
Periode of time: Februari 2017 - Februari 2022

INclusive Holistic care for REfugee and migrant victims of sexual violence in Belgium and the UK | INHeRE

Migrants, Applicants of International Protection and Refugees (MAR) are at high risk of sexual victimization (SV) prior to but also upon arrival in Europe. Adopting an integrated and holistic approach (i.e. encompassing forensic, medical and psychosocial care) from detection to follow-up has been recognized as the best care for all SV victims, including victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation. However, the access to holistic care for MAR victims is hampered by a broad range of barriers.

Health care providers, law enforcement officials and cultural mediators/interpreters working with MAR victims of sexual violence, often lack the specialist knowledge, language skills and tools to provide and/or refer to inclusive holistic care to MAR SV victims. Capacity building of key professionals working with vulnerable MAR victims of SV/ST through tailored tools and by streamlining care pathways between professions is thus urgently needed.

We are involved in a mapping and a rapid appraisal of national laws, policies and practices regarding reporting and hearings of (un)documented MAR victims of SV and ST. This will result in the development of good practice scripts.

Researcher(s)/contact: Ilse Derluyn, An Verelst, Gaëlle Le Pavic

Youth Research Platform

JOP | JeugdonderzoeksplatformThe Youth Research Platform is a policy-oriented research centre subsidized by the Flemish government. It is an interdisciplinary cooperation between three academic research groups: Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy (Ghent University), Research group ‘Tempus Omnia Revelat’ (Department of Sociology – Free University of Brussels), Research Line Youth Criminology, Leuven Institute of Criminology (Leuven University). The Youth Research Platform has been assigned three main tasks:

  1. inventory of existing youth research,
  2. the construction of a survey, which recurrently monitors the lifeworld, conditions and activities of Flemish youth (“the JOP-monitor’ and the ‘JOP-schoolmonitor’) and,
  3. the development of an international dimension

The Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy contributes to the inventorisation of youth research, in particular pedagogical and social work research concerning youth, in an online database. Within the JOP-monitor the department mainly focuses on the study of (the policy for) young people in relation to the three main educational contexts (family, school and leisure) and the formal and informal support. The department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy takes up the coordination of the Youth Research Platform. The coordinator is also the national correspondent for The European Knowledge Centre on Youth Policy and is member of the Pool of European Youth Researchers (PEYR).

Promoter(s): Prof. dr. Maria De Bie (promoter-coördinator), dr. Lieve Bradt (project-coordinator)
Researcher(s)/contact: Annelore Van der Eecken, Robin Kemper

Preventive school-based interventions to promote the mental well-being of refugee and migrant adolescents | RefugeesWellSchool

RefugeesWellSchoolRefugeesWellSchool is a European Horizon2020 project (agreement no. 75484) carried out by seven partners in Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium and the United Kingdom. Its objective is to advance the evidence-base on the role of preventive, school-based interventions in promoting refugee and migrant adolescents' mental well-being, and on how they can be implemented in educational settings. The project evaluates the effectiveness and implementation of five interventions:

  1. In-Service Teacher Training and Teaching Recovery Techniques
  2. Classroom Drama
  3. Welcome to School programme
  4. Enhancing Peer Interactions and Social Capital programme
  5. In-service Teacher Training

We look at effectiveness in terms of mental well-being, and aim at reducing mental health problems of refugee and migrant adolescents, as well as increasing resilience, social support networks, positive relationships, and school belonging.

PromotorProf. dr. Ilse Derluyn
Period: Marz 2019 - Marz 2022

Advocacy for Migrants in European Transit Zones. Analysing Innovative Strategies for Political Change

A rising number of migrants are ‘stranded’ in so-called ‘transit zones’ across Europe. Most governments try to deter migrants from dwelling in these transit zones, by putting in place a series of repressive policies, e.g. by destroying tents and shelters. This does not deter migrants, but pushes them into ever more destitute living conditions. In response, established NGOs and a variety of grassroots collectives try to pressure governments into changing migrants’ living conditions within these zones and the policies that produce these. This project seeks to investigate these grassroots collectives’ advocacy work within three European transit zones: Brussels, Calais, and the Aegean islands. We examine which advocacy strategies have been used since Europe’s 2015 ‘long summer of migration’ (Kasparek and Speer, 2015) and if and how these strategies correspond to changes in (a) the living conditions of migrants in transit zones and (b) the laws and policies that produce these transit zones. Through a combination of a focused literature study, extensive document analysis, interviews and in-depth case studies, this project will contribute to scholarly debates on the innovative nature of advocacy strategies used by grassroots collectives, and on their possibilities (and limitations) in contributing to political change in contemporary migration policies.

Promotor(s): Prof. Dr. Robin Vandevoordt en Prof. Dr. Ellen Desmet
Researcher(s)/contact: dr. Marlies Casier en Prof. Dr. Robin Vandevoordt
Period: September 2023-Augustus 2026

Innovation by promoting reflexivity and participation (INORP): Strengthening the education and professionalization of social work at the boundaries of other professions

INORP | Innovation by promoting reflexivity and participationThe project is co-financed by EU funds under the Erasmus + strategic partnership for innovation for the period 2020-2023. The project coordinator is Charles University (Czech Republic). The project partners are: GENT UNIVERSITY (Belgium), HELSINGIN YLIOPISTO (Finland), UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN (Ireland), COOPERATIVA DE ENSINO SUPERIOR DE SERVIÇO SOCIAL (Portugal). Associate partner is the Association of Educators in Social Work (ASVSP).

  • Acronym: INORP
  • Status: Active
  • Effective start/end date: 01/10/2020→31/07/2023

Aims and Objectives

The INORP project aimed to develop methodologies to strengthen the competences of actors involved in the development of practice in healthcare and social care, research and education, including teachers, students and actors of various group identities, taking into account the application of participatory and inclusive approaches to work with users services and to support reflexivity in various areas of social work.


Outputs of the international project co-financed by the EU within the framework of the Erasmus+ program K203-CAC1B7D2 strategic partnership for innovation for the period 2020-2023. The project partners are:

  • Charles University (CZ) as project coordinator;
  • Universiteit Ghent (Belgium);
  • Helsingin Yliopisto (Finland);
  • University College Dublin (Ireland); and
  • Instituto Superior de Serviço Social do Porto (ISSSP) (Portugal).
  • The associated partner in the Czech Republic is the Association of Educators in Social Work (ASVSP).

The main deliverables of the project are available here: