The war in ex-Yugoslavia, displacement, rapid economic changes and a deteriorated social context, exposed a hundred thousand children and adolescents to very intensive, often multiple traumatic experiences followed by a chain of chronic and increasing adversities in their everyday lives. During the past 10 years more than 3 million people from ex-Yugoslavia became “refugees”, “expellees”, or “internally displaced persons”. Approximately a million of them found shelter, permanent or temporary, in Serbia. Nearly half of this number were children and young people. Many of them, before finding refuge, witnessed destruction, atrocities, torment and the death of close family or friends or their own lives were endangered, exposed to violence, deprivation or uncertainty. Although child refugees found safety and shelter, the painstaking everyday realities of refugee life and an uncertain future continued to torment them and mark their developmental passage towards adulthood. The aim of the paper is to present the reactions of children and adolescents in Serbia, both refugees and domicile ones, to those traumatic experiences and to discuss how they have coped with such experiences during the last 10 years. The paper is based on several studies done by the research team of the Psychotrauma Center for Children and Adolescents of the Institute for Mental Health in Belgrade in that period [1–5].
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