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Table 1 Summary of information about centres and observation activities at study sites

From: The potential role of network-oriented interventions for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence among asylum seekers in Belgium

Name of centre/Location

Description of centre

Type of centre

Activities done/observed

Length of observation

General description

Centre 1

Located by the port, in an old ship. Capacity: 250 people. Majority of the residents were of Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian and Afghan origin. A combination of families and single persons. Rooms were for 4 to 6 people in bunks. No specific demarcation of male and female spaces

Open-access centre

Consultations with the doctors, nurses, social workers, and education workers. Provided support for clinic consultations and spoke with and interviewed refugees at the centre

6 weeks/ 6–9 h per week: November to December 2016 (Centre closed February 2017)

Medical and social services were located within the centre. However specific opening hours were allocated for service provision. The nurses and education workers were more accessible to the refugees, the doctors much less so. Free entry into the centre by refugees (i.e., entrance not manned by security officers or no barriers or gates), however they were allowed only specific days to live outside the centre. Private consultation rooms were available that allowed for a certain level of privacy during consultations. Translation services were often required during consultations, as majority of the respondents were Iraqi and Afghan speaking. There were some drug stock-outs, however nurses often had painkillers and flu- medication and gave this to patients. No specific protocol for addressing GBV, case was discussed in team meetings, transfers done if required, and the survivor was often referred to a psychologist. Living rooms, consisted of bunks of 4–6 people, with males and females and mixed groups of people. No case of GBV consultation observed during duration of ethnographic work. However, there were reported cases handled earlier prior to commencement of observation

Centre 2

Located in the centre of the city in Gent, Capacity of 85

Majority of the population, unaccompanied minors of |Afghan origin. Mostly single males, no family present during the duration of observation

Open-access centre

Consultations with social workers and education workers, engaged in social activities with the refugees, cooking and outdoor activities, organized a sexual health workshop/ focus group discussion at the centre

9 months: May 2017 to March 2018, 5–8 h per week

An external mode of delivery for health care services, as medical services are not located in the centre. Most of the respondents had received positive responses for their asylum procedure and some were also classified as ‘medical cases’ with chronic diseases like Diabetes, Chronic Kidney failure or AIDS. Referrals to clinics was done and to GPs, as no medical service was available ‘in-house’. Social assistants were easily accessible, as their offices were located within the centre,

Centre 3

Located in Brussels, has a capacity of 850 people, population is mixed and has people from Asia (including the middle east) sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe

The centre has gates, and a badge is used to enter and leave the centre, refugees had to take permission to leave the centre and were allowed to stay outside the centre for only a certain number of days. In many ways felt like a closed gated camp

Consultations with health care providers, multi-disciplinary team meetings. Informal discussions with refugees at the waiting room and the courtyard

1 year: May 2017 to May 2018: 6–10 h/ week

Medical centre available within the refugee centre, refugees who want to use the medical service are expected to come to the centre and book consultations between 10 and 12. ‘Less serious cases ‘are seen by the nurses, which means things like colds, cuts and bruises that need to be sutured etc., and more serious conditions that require treatment with prescriptions or a more thorough medical assessments are given dates for consultation with the doctor.