This page is for family, helpers or others who are close to a survivor. Having one’s human rights violated can lead to painful short and/or long-term physical and/or psychological consequences. In the following, you can find information and resources that we hope will be useful to help a survivor take the first steps to move on in life.
Dear family, helper or others close to a survivor,
Because of the abuse that survivors may have been exposed to, they may experience going through a difficult and painful time. Maybe they feel like the world seems different from how it used to be like? Maybe it is not quite the same as it was before? Maybe they find it is difficult to talk to family and friends about what happened, or maybe they do not want to talk about it to anyone? Maybe they find it difficult to be around other people?
Possible physical and psychological reactions
Maybe they feel anxious or deep sadness?
Maybe they have lost their sense of safety or trust in other people?
Maybe they experience pain somewhere in their body?
Maybe they feel vulnerable and helpless?
Maybe they feel like what happened in the past comes back to the here and now as if it happened again?
Maybe they find it difficult to sleep, and have bad dreams and nightmares about what happened?
Maybe they try to avoid certain locations, people, or activities?
Maybe they feel numb, that they don’t feel their body that much, and/or find it difficult to remember what happened?
Maybe they find it difficult to concentrate or to feel calm and relaxed?
All these reactions are common reactions to something that is extremely severe and unjust. Many people who have experienced severe abuse have some or all of these reactions. Often survivors need help to move on in life.
So how can you talk to the survivor in a supportive way?
First of all, it is important to validate their experience. You can tell them that you are glad they are sharing this with you and recognize that what they are going through must be really hard. Repeat the message that assault is never the survivor’s fault and always the perpetrator’s fault. Also reassure the survivor that the assault does not change how you feel or think about them, and try not to see them as a victim. To empower the survivor, tell them how strong and brave they are for telling you their story.
Assure the survivor that you believe him/her and that you will support them trough the healing process, no matter how long it will take. However, you need to honor your own needs as well. You can be there for them and listen to them, but remember that you are not a professional. This means that you should leave the investigation and in-depth questions to professionals.
When hearing about the survivor’s abuse, it is normal to feel distressed and being overprotective. But it is really important that you let the survivor be in control of the situation. The assault already made them feel violated and week, so now they need to take back the control. Ask them how they want you to help them. Respect the survivors’ privacy and ask for permission before you tell someone their story.
Some may be human rights defenders, and some may suddenly have been stopped, abused in their local community, or taken away. What type of abuse they may have gone through and the context within which it took place may be different from one person to another. Maybe some of them knew about the threat of being abused and have lived with this fear for a while? Maybe it suddenly happened, and they had not been aware of any danger up until that point?
What happened to them was illegal by international standards, horrific, and extremely unjust. It should never have happened to them nor to any other human being.
The abuse is a violation of your human rights
The severe abuse that they may have gone through is a violation of their human rights. There are many people around the world doing what they can to try to stop such abuse from taking place. It is a very serious issue that the international community and international organisations such as the United Nations are working to prevent and stop. Also, violating a person’s human rights is illegal by international standards. Every human being has inherent human rights that they are born with and that nobody must violate. This means that because they are a human being, they have human rights. The human rights are stated in the document the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 1948. Every human being has the right to life, to liberty, and to freedom of expression. Importantly, human rights prohibit all forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. People whose rights have been brutally disrespected – survivors – also have specific rights.
Their rights as a survivor
As a survivor of a human rights violation, they have specific rights. These rights are the right to ‘redress’ and the right to ‘rehabilitation’ and include services and resources that survivors are entitled to. You as a helper can find more information about these specific rights on this thematic page.
Unfortunately, on many occasions, survivors do not receive the help that they should. We, therefore, have included some information and resources. We hope it can be helpful in taking the first steps to move on in life and to start the recovery process.
Below, you can find information about which words and terms you can use when you talk about the person who has experienced a human rights violations as well as the human rights violations.
In the literature, the person who has experienced a severe human rights violation, is referred to as either “survivor” or as “victim”. Both terms are being used, but in some contexts one of them is usually preferred over the other. For example, advocacy and support organisations and groups – including HHRI – often use survivor. We consider survivor to be more empowering than the word victim, as it implies that the person is able to take some control in his or her life; that the person has resources and strength. In legal documents and in de judiciary the term victim is used.
You can choose which term you use and if it seems purposeful you can also use both terms interchangeably.
The human rights violations
What is a gross, serious or severe human rights violation?
What is torture?
In 1984, the United Nations General Assembly adopted what is being referred to as CAT, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. We use the definition of torture from CAT, which states that:
“[T]he term “torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.”
As pointed out by the Association for the Prevention of Torture, APT, this definition contains three cumulative elements:
- The intentional infliction of severe mental or physical suffering;
- By a public official, who is directly or indirectly involved;
- For a specific purpose.
APT continues by stating that “other international and regional treaties, as well as national laws, can contain broader definitions of torture, covering a wider range of situations”.
In article 2 of CAT, it is further stated that:
“Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.”
CAT can be read and downloaded in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish here.
What other violations of human rights are considered to be serious, severe or gross?
In 2014, some experts in international human rights law from the Geneva Academy conducted a study to consider what amounts to a serious violation of international human rights law among experts and in international practice. In the report, they state the following:
“The analysis undertaken for this report suggests that expert human rights bodies apply several criteria when they distinguish ‘serious’ violations, though their use is often implicit and no set of criteria has been formally agreed. ‘Serious’ violations are determined by:
- The character of the right;
- The magnitude of the violation;
- The type of victim (vulnerability);
- The impact of the violation.
These elements can be regarded as merely descriptive. It is not presumed that they should be prescriptive criteria or are indicators that a violation must fulfill in order to be described as ‘serious’” (Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, 2014. Briefing no. 6 p. 5).
Below you can find a list of what could be considered serious human rights violations:
- Acts of intimidation, harassment, and extortion
- Administrative detentions in large numbers
- Apprehension (of foreign journalists)
- Arbitrary arrests and detention in undisclosed locations
- Attacks on human rights defenders and journalists
- Attacks on schools and education facilities
- Collective reprisals
- Confiscation of land and property
- Crimes against humanity
- Deliberate/direct targeting of and indiscriminative attacks on civilians/civilian objects and infrastructure
- Denial of access to any legal process/violation of right to a fair trial
- Denial of access to work
- Denial to the right to freedom of conscience/persecution of a religious group
- Denial of the right to seek and obtain asylum/violation of the principal of non-refoulement
- Deplorable conditions of work and life/forced labour/sexual slavery/slave labour
- Deportation or transfer, directly or indirectly, by an occupying Power of parts of its own population into territory it occupies
- Enforced disappearance
- Excessive use of force by security forces/disproportionate violence
- Excessive use of force/indiscriminate/unlawful attacks (incl. targeted aerial bombardment)
- Extrajudicial and summary execution
- Failure to distinguish in attacks and to protect civilians
- Failure to fulfil procedural obligations (failure to investigate)
- Failure to provide food and health care in prisons
- Female genital mutilation
- Firing bullets during demonstrations/disproportionate and excessive use of force against all forms of protest
- Forced displacement/massive population displacement/internal displacement
- Forced eviction
- Forced marriage
- Gender-based violence
- Inadequate after-care for victims of gender-based violence
- Lack of citizenship and civil status
- Mass expulsion
- Massacres/extraordinarily large number of killings
- Obstruction of humanitarian and medical aid
- Rape (incl. mass rape) and other forms of sexual violence/violations
- Recruitment of children
- Repeated failure of authorities to end breaches of a right
- Seizure of children
- Severe restrictions on freedom of movement/violation of the right to leave and to return to one’s country
- Torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment/physical abuse
- Use of civilians as “human shields”/refusal to evacuate wounded
- Violation of children’s rights/sexual abuse of children/violence against children
- Violation of freedom of expression
- Violation of the right to an adequate standard of living/deprivation of basic services
- Violation of the right to associate freely
- Violation of the right to food
- Violation of the right to health and social security/attacks on hospitals
- Violation of the right to housing
- Violation of the right to humane treatment in custody, detention in degrading conditions
- Violation of the right to life/killing/murder/manslaughter
- Violation of the right to private and family life, home and correspondence (mainly with regard to property)
- Violation of the right to property/destruction of property and houses/large scale demolition of houses and infrastructur
- Violation of the right to self-determination
(Source: Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, 2014)
‘Survivor’ Versus ‘Victim’: Why Choosing Your Words Carefully Is Important
HelloFlo downloaded last 2018
The words “survivor” and “victim” have very different connotations. Being a “victim” implies helplessness and pity, which might not adequately describe the experiences of some people who experience sexual assault. Experiences vary from person to person, after all. However, what’s so different about the term “survivor” is that it implies that people are able to take control of their own lives. “Surviving” conveys that the person is still fighting, whether through the judicial system in order to bring justice to the perpetrator, to gain awareness for the cause, or to learn to live after experiencing an assault. A “survivor” thrives in their environment.
Key Terms and Phrases
RAINN downloaded last 2018
We often receive questions about using the “right” term or phrase. Here’s how we choose the language that we use.
Who Is a Torture Survivor: Understanding the Legal Definitions of Torture
This webinar, from March, 2016 features Annie Sovcik and Marie Soueid from the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT), with Tim Kelly from the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and Faith Ray with the CVT National Capacity Building Program. This Measured Impact Webinar is part of a two-part training on the legal definitions of torture and how they apply to eligibility determinations for Survivors of Torture programs. This webinar concentrates on the legal frameworks of the U.S. and U.N. definitions of torture, as well as the refugee definition. It includes examples to illustrate cases that rise to the level of torture and cases that do not.
According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other conventions and resolutions, you as a survivor or family member of a survivor of human rights violations, have specific rights.
Article 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law”.
An important document called Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law affirms that states have the duty to investigate and, if there is sufficient evidence, the duty to submit to prosecution the person allegedly responsible for the violations and, if found guilty, the duty to punish her or him. Moreover, in these cases, States should, in accordance with international law, cooperate with one another and assist international judicial organs competent in the investigation and prosecution of these violations, that victims should be treated with humanity and respect for their dignity and human rights, and appropriate measures should be taken to ensure their safety, physical and psychological well-being and privacy, as well as those of their families. Moreover, it is stated that victims have the right to remedies, meaning (a) Equal and effective access to justice; (b) Adequate, effective and prompt reparation for harm suffered; (c) Access to relevant information concerning violations and reparation mechanisms.
The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (generally known as CAT) states that:
1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.
2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.
3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.
CAT further states that each state party shall ensure to victims of torture an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation (article 14). The right to a remedy and reparation is articulated as an integrated right that consists of access to justice, reparation, including economic compensation, and, rehabilitation. on. We have, pursuant to the adoption of General Comment no 3, to article 14 of the CAT, been particularly aware of the importance of ensuring psychological support to survivors of rape and other forms of sexual violence, both immediately after the violence, if possible, and as part of a more long term reparation.
For more information on rights and access to other conventions and resolutions, please visit the thematic page about torture here.
Here, we provide information about how different countries handle rehabilitation, redress and rebuilding survivor’s rights.
Reparations for Victims of Gross human rights violations in Uganda
Since independence Uganda has experienced different episodes of violent conflict and human rights abuses across successive political regimes. The most protracted and brutal of these conflicts was the two decade conflict in the northern Uganda between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the government forces, during which gross human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law were perpetrated against individuals, families, and communities.
Reparations to victims of gross human rights violations: The case of Cambodia
More than three decades have passed, but the goal of comprehensive reparations is still out of reach for the victims whose rights were seriously and systematically deprived by the Khmer Rouge. The issue of reparations has received little attention from the government and the international community, even after the establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia for the Prosecution of Crimes Committed during the Period of Democratic Kampuchea.
The Right to Truth and Reparation for Victims of Gross Human Rights Violations: The Case of Colombia
The thesis explores the concepts of truth and reparation and how they are interrelated. Lastly, it looks at the degree to which the victims’ rights to truth and reparation are protected in the Colombian legal framework, how they are implemented at the national level, and to what degree the protection of victims’ rights in Colombia meets international standards.
India: Rape Victims Face Barriers to Justice
Human Rights Watch, 2017
Rape survivors in India face significant barriers to obtaining justice and critical support services, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Legal and other reforms adopted since the gang rape and murder of a student, Jyoti Singh Pandey, in Delhi in December 2012 have not been fully realized.
It is important to provide support for people living with trauma and its share knowledge on the effects on mental health, to reduce stigma, and advocate for equal care. Millions of people and their families feel the effects of trauma on mental health each year. Every survivor’s healing journey is unique and it’s crucial that we’re aware of the effects trauma can have on mental health. A good way to support survivors living with these effects of trauma is to seek out information about what they may be going through and offer compassion, empathy, and understanding.
‘Trauma’ means wound. In both medicine and psychology, it refers to major physical or mental injuries, including threats to life or physical integrity.
- The situation is overwhelming, inescapable and very frightening
- Threaten life and integrity
- Loss of control and beyond what we are prepared to deal with
- Most people will struggle with serious reactions such as intrusive memories, re-experiences, flashbacks and sleeping problems afterwards
- Suffering can be recognized in thoughts, feelings, breathing, heart and body
A ‘traumatic event’ is one that has the capacity to cause mental or physical trauma. Faced by such an event, the immediate response of the body and the mind is to struggle for survival. Behaviorally this is expressed by ‘fight, flight or freeze’ responses, submission or ‘playing dead’. A severe traumatic event often changes the way in which survivors understand the world around them. They may lose their sense of safety and feel vulnerable and helpless. If the event involves acts of violence and the intention to hurt, trust in other people may be lost and the survivor’s interrelation world seriously disturbed. Personal encounters with human or man-made violence are considered the most disturbing forms of trauma, likely to have the most lasting impact. Loss of safety, control and trust commonly leads to depression (deep sadness, loss of the will to live, etc.) or anxiety. It is important to emphasize that the reactions that survivor experience are normal reactions to an abnormal event. The survivor is not crazy! For a survivor, it is empowering to learn that her/his reactions to this very serious and painful event are normal, so we recommend you that you say this to the survivor and maybe repeat it at several occasions if necessary.
A personal encounter with violence and death may also haunt the survivor, who may painfully re-experience the event in dreams or daily life (also called intrusion). We call the reminders that cause intrusion ‘triggers’. Triggers, or trauma-reminders, are events, objects or situations that remind victimized persons of their painful experiences and memories. Such reminders may elicit trauma reactions over and over again. They can be extremely distressing and create such anxiety that people are afraid to go out, see people, hear certain sounds or do many ordinary usual things.
- Unexpected situations can suddenly trigger trauma reactions
- It is possible to prepare against these, by using the senses to feel more present
Source: The GBV manual.
21 Common Reactions to Trauma
Whatever the source, trauma leaves its imprint on the brain. For example, research studies consistently show that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is linked to greater activity in brain areas that process fear and less activation in parts of the prefrontal cortex. For the many who have survived human rights violations, the patterns of reactions will be the same.
Trauma – reaction and recovery
The State of Victoria and the Department of Health & Human Services Last updated, 2016
It is normal to have strong reactions following a distressing or frightening event, but these should begin to reduce after a few weeks. People can experience a range of physical, mental, emotional and behavioural reactions.
What to Expect After a Disaster or Other Traumatic Event?
Shock and denial are typical responses. Shock is a sudden and often intense disturbance of your emotional state that may leave you feeling stunned, numb or dazed. Denial involves your not acknowledging that something very stressful has happened, or not experiencing fully the intensity of the event. After shock subsides, reactions vary from one person to another (open the link for more information). There are a number of steps you can take to help restore emotional well-being and a sense of control following a disaster or other traumatic experience (open the link for more information).
Tips for Survivors of a Traumatic Event What to Expect in Your Personal, Family, Work, and Financial Life
The effect of a disaster or traumatic event goes far beyond its immediate devastation. Just as it takes time to reconstruct damaged buildings, it takes time to grieve and rebuild our lives. What follows are examples of the types of emotional, behavioral, physical, and cognitive responses that are all common reactions to a disaster or other traumatic event.
Health and Human Rights Info
Here you can find a list of grounding exercises. Grounding exercises can help to handle dissociation or flashbacks, and reducing the symptoms of anxiety and panic. It is important to practice the exercises again and again until the skill becomes automatic and can be called on even during moments of distress. The aim of grounding is to take the survivor out of whatever traumatic moment she is remembering. We suggest that you first practice the “Grounding the body” exercise below:
1. Grounding the body. (10-15 minutes)
This exercise can help a survivor to come back to a more balanced emotional state. Sit on your chair. Feel your feet touching the ground. Stamp your left foot into the ground, then your right. Do it slowly: left, right, left. Do this several times. Feel your thighs and buttocks in contact with the seat of your chair (5 seconds). Notice if your legs and buttocks now feel more present or less present than when you started focusing on your legs. Now move your focus to your spine. Feel your spine as your midline. Slowly lengthen your spine and notice if it affects your breath (10 seconds). Move your focus toward your hands and arms. Put your hands together. Do it in a way that feels comfortable for you. Push your hands together and feel your strength and temperature. Release and pause, then push your hands together again. Release and rest your arms. Now move your focus to your eyes. Look around the room. Find something that tells you that you are here. Remind yourself that you are here, now, and that you are safe. Notice how this exercise affects your breathing, your presence, your mood, and your strength.
Source: Jacobson, Edmund. 1974. Progressive Relaxation. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, Midway Reprint.
Trauma – reaction and recovery
The State of Victoria and the Department of Health & Human Services Last updated, 2016
The normal healing and recovery process involves the body coming down out of a state of heightened arousal. In other words, the internal alarms turn off, the high levels of energy subside, and the body re-sets itself to a normal state of balance and equilibrium. Typically, this should occur within approximately one month of the event.
Self-Care After Trauma
Self-care is about taking steps to feel healthy and comfortable. Whether it happened recently or years ago, self-care can help you cope with the short- and long-term effects of a trauma like sexual assault. The information is available in Spanish here.
Rehabilitation of Torture Survivors Resource Kit for Service Providers
IRCT Patel et al., 2013
We hope this kit will be of use to a wide range of professionals working with torture survivors in contexts around the world. It captures the results of exchanges and workshops held to address a range of rehabilitation issues under this project and we
hope it provides a user-friendly overview of the main concepts and practices in torture rehabilitation. The information included represents a “getting started” and “where to go for more information” guide. We present options for providers along a continuum of services they might choose to provide, from implementing a survivor service component in their ongoing practice to developing a full-service torture rehabilitation program.
It can be very difficult to be alongside loved ones who have experienced human rights violations. We also know how important it is that survivors will be met with as much care and support as possible. Support is important to rebuild, recover, heal, survive and thrive after a traumatic event or human rights violations. You, as family or friend need information on how to best handle the different reactions.
Helping the helpers
For mental health workers empathy is an essential aspect of good help. This is also a source for compassion fatigue, vicarious traumatization or secondary traumatic stress. Early recognition and awareness are crucial to be resilient to these symptoms. This page is also valid for family members and friends that give support to survivors.
A Guide for Friends and Family of Sexual Violence Survivors
Friends and family members of survivors of sexual violence often want to help a survivor through her or his experience but don’t know how. The resources below provide advice for friends and family about how to provide support without unintentionally increasing the stress that survivors experience, or otherwise doing harm. This 23-page guide contains a general overview of sexual violence. It includes some tips on communication, the common questions and concerns, the long-term effects and how significant others can be affected.
How can children survive torture?
The Expert Workshop on “Redress and rehabilitation of child and adolescent victims of torture and the intergenerational transmission of trauma” highlighted methods that can be deployed to sustainably assist child and adolescent victims of torture, including techniques which can revive their self-confidence and sense of worth and restore their hope and dignity. I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to these tireless professionals, who are supported by the Torture Fund, for their lifechanging work.
Helping Someone with PTSD Helping a Loved One While Taking Care of Yourself
Helpers guide.org – Smith and Robinson, 2018
When someone you care about suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it can leave you feeling overwhelmed. The changes in your loved one can be worrying or even frightening. You may feel angry about what’s happening to your family and relationship, or hurt by your loved one’s distance and moodiness.
Helping Victims Overcome Human Rights Violations Through Education
Understanding education as a form of both reconstruction and reparations is essential for societies in their efforts to address victims’ rights and help victims and their families overcome the consequences of a painful past.
Self-Care for Friends and Family
It’s important to know that there is no normal or one way to react when you find out someone you care about has survived an act of sexual violence. Regardless of what you’re feeling, these emotions can be intense and difficult to deal with. Learning how to manage these feelings can help you support the survivor in your life and can help you feel less overwhelmed.
Understanding PTSD: A Guide for Family and Friends
National Center for PTSD, 2018
If someone close to you has been through a life-threatening event, like combat or sexual assault, it can be hard to know how to support them. At the same time, it’s important to remember that this type of event also afects family and friends — and it’s normal for you to struggle, too.
Trauma and families
The State of Victoria & Better health Channel, 2015
It is normal to have strong emotional or physical reactions following a distressing event. On most occasions though, these reactions subside as part of the body’s natural healing and recovery process. Family members who experience a shared distressing event often become closer and appreciate each other more. A traumatic experience is any event in life that causes a threat to our safety and potentially places our own life or the lives of others at risk. As a result, a person experiences high levels of emotional, psychological, and physical distress that temporarily disrupts their ability to function normally in day-to-day life.
International Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (IRCT)
Rehabilitation helps victims rebuild their life after torture through a combination of services including medical, psychological, legal and social support. It is a process that recognises the victims’ agency and empowerment and takes into account their individual needs as well as the cultural, social and political background and environment in which they live. Rebuilding your life after your dignity has been attacked takes time. Survivors need to be able to trust and have confidence in health professionals and other caregivers and they need to know that support will be available for them whenever and as long as is needed.
The Trust Fund for Victims (TFV)
The Trust Fund for Victims envisions a world where the rights of individuals are fulfilled and where survivors of the gravest human rights violations are empowered to live a life of hope, dignity and respect. The Trust Fund for Victims responds to the harm resulting from the crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICC by ensuring the rights of victims and their families through the provision of reparations and assistance.
The United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture
The UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture is a unique and universal humanitarian tool available to the UN and OHCHR providing direct assistance to victims of torture and their family members wherever torture occurs – as outlined in its Mission statement: E | F | S (PDF) and Q&A on the Fund. The Fund aims at healing the physical and psychological consequences of torture on victims and their families, and thus restoring their dignity and role in the society.
The Survivors Trust
Rape and sexual abuse can be committed against anyone regardless of their age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, culture or social status. Living with the consequences of rape and sexual abuse can be devastating. At TST, we believe that all survivors are entitled to receive the best possible response to their needs whether or not they choose to report.
ICORN: International Cities of Refuge Network
The International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) is an independent organisation of cities and regions offering shelter to writers and artists at risk, advancing freedom of expression, defending democratic values and promoting international solidarity. ICORN member cities offer long term, but temporary, shelter to those at risk as a direct consequence of their creative activities. Our aim is to be able to host as many persecuted writers and artists as possible in ICORN cities and together with our sister networks and organisations, to form a dynamic and sustainable global network for freedom of expression.
Freedom from Torture
The MF was established in 1985 in the United Kingdom, dedicated solely to the treatment of torture survivors. MF works in the UK, but the website provides good links and information concerning lots of aspects of torture.
This human rights organization helps torture survivors to obtain justice and reparation. Initiated by a torture survivor, established in 1992 as a charity organization in the UK. REDRESS works with survivors to help restore their dignity and to make tortures accountable.
Resources for Torture Survivors, Refugees, Detainees, & Asylum-Seekers
This website (set up by a clinical psychologist) collects over 130 useful links to help torture survivors and asylum seekers to find information on lots of topics import to know (guidelines, networks, legal services etc).
For adult survivors of trauma, violence, and loss through an innovative, clinically-proven model of comprehensive care, advocacy, and outreach. We eliminate barriers to healing and inspire survivors to embrace hope.
World Organization Against Torture
This organization represents “the main coalition of international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) fighting against torture, summary executions, enforced disappearances, and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.” Here we find quite a solid collection of several topics concerning torture, as assistance, rights and violence against children and women, socio-economic aspects. – OMCT.
International Commission on Missing Persons – ICM
Their mission is to ensure the cooperation of governments and others in addressing the issue of missing persons, including provisions to build institutional capacity, encourage public involvement and address the needs of justice, and to provide technical assistance to governments in locating, recovering and identifying missing persons.
National Center for PTSD
The mission is to advance the clinical care and social welfare of America’s Veterans and others who have experienced trauma, or who suffer from PTSD, through research, education, and training in the science, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD and stress-related disorders.
National Crime Victim Law Institute
The Modern Crime Victims’ Rights Movement began more than 30 years ago and aspired to improve the treatment of crime victims in the justice system. This Movement has since evolved into “one of the most successful civil liberties movements of recent times.
Georgian Centre for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (GCRT)
The primary aim of GCRT is to provide qualified, multidisciplinary services to torture survivors and their family members, to raise public awareness about the issues of torture, to contribute to the prevention of torture, (monitoring human rights violations in prisons) to conduct educational activities concerning torture and inhuman treatment, raise competence of service personnel on how to provide assistance to victims of torture. Also to train law enforcement personnel dealing with prisoners as well as probation officers.
International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP)
The IASP was established in 1960 and is the largest international organization dedicated to suicide prevention and to the alleviation of the effects of suicide. It has members in more than 50 countries. Suicide and non-fatal suicidal behaviour are major public health problems across the world. Data from the WHO indicate that approximately one million people worldwide die by suicide each year. This corresponds to one death by suicide every 40 seconds. The number of lives lost each year through suicide exceeds the number of deaths due to homicide and war combined. The information is available in Spanish here.
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