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Social work in extremisLessons for social work internationally$
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Michael Lavalette and Vasilios Ioakimidis

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781847427182

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847427182.001.0001

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Social welfare services to protect elderly victims of war in Cyprus

Social welfare services to protect elderly victims of war in Cyprus

(p.133) nine Social welfare services to protect elderly victims of war in Cyprus
Social work in extremis

Gregory Neocleous

Policy Press

In 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus, turning thousands of people into refugees in their own country. The case of Cyprus demonstrates how extreme circumstances and the grassroots mobilisation of ‘affected people’ can challenge traditional attitudes and force the authorities to promote progressive reforms. This became possible due to intervention by the state to speed up the process of developing new, or improving existing, social services and social welfare programmes in order to meet the needs of the population. At the time of the invasion in 1974, expenditure on public assistance was minimal: there was full employment and living standards were comparatively high; but immediately after the war public assistance expanded. The internal displacement of one-third of the population created many complex social problems and increased the dependency of vulnerable groups, such as the displaced elderly population, on state support. The situation led to an immediate need for the introduction of new services and programmes in order to support the 200,000 displaced Greek Cypriots.

Keywords:   Turkey, Cyprus, refugees, grassroots mobilisation, social services, internal displacement, elderly, Greek Cypriots, social welfare, war

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