New Resources: March 6, 2013
Preventing Burnout Among Those who Work with Survivors
People who work with survivors of torture, whether healthcare and social service professionals or citizen volunteers, may themselves be susceptible to what’s variously referred to as indirect, secondary, or vicarious trauma. As one of the therapists we interviewed for our film, Refuge: Caring for Survivors of Torture, describes it: “When clients were telling me what had been done to them, I got pictures in my head, and I couldn’t get the pictures to go away.”
The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims has launched a peer support project for some of its member organizations in Austria, Bulgaria, France, Ireland, Romania, and United Kingdom. IRCT hopes to expand the program in the future. For information, contact the project coordinators for more information: Helene de Rengervé (email@example.com) or Marnix de Witte (firstname.lastname@example.org). Also available from IRCT is the 2011 Manual for Good Practice and Management in Trauma Centers, by Christian Pross.
The IRCT website is an outstanding source for ongoing information about torture and torture treatment throughout the world, as is its blog, World Without Torture.
Preventing Torture Through Forensic Documentation
Getting the Evidence, a report just released by the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, cites specific cases in a number of countries to focus on the crucial role of forensic examination and documentation in proving that torture has occurred and preventing its recurrence. Forensics may involve not only physicians, but psychologists, psychiatrists, physical anthropologists and other professionals.
As the report notes, “International law obliges states to properly investigate all allegations of torture and to punish those responsible…Yet torture often takes place in secret, and many torture methods are designed to be as painful as possible without leaving physical marks.” (Though not the focus of this report, forensic evidence may be tremendously important in supporting claims by survivors for political asylum.)
“Unfortunately, torturers know of the difficulty of proving torture and therefore find ways of avoiding accountability.”
— Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture
“It’s very important to bring survivors of torture to speak out…What they say is not only incredibly powerful, but is what the torturers would never like to hear.”
— Mostafa Hussein, El Nadim Center for Psychological Treatment
and Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, Egypt
Condition Reports on Countries that Torture
The Florida Center for Survivors of Torture & Refugee Services has released a series of brief reports on the conditions – with regard to torture – in several countries of concern. Country Condition Reports, accessible online, are currently available for Afghanistan, Burma, Bhutan, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Iraq, Somalia, and Syria. The reports “provide historical timelines, brief descriptions of common methods of torture, and synopses of current conditions and pertinent issues related to each country.” The Florida Center is a project of Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services.
…………Artist Antonio Frasconi Dies at 93