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Center For Victims Of Torture

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: International, International Human Rights

Mission: The center for victims of torture works to heal the wounds of torture on individuals, their families and their communities and to stop torture worldwide.

Programs: International servicescvt provides direct mental health counseling services to refugee torture and war trauma survivors in the dadaab refugee camps in kenya and also in refugee camps in the tigray region of ethiopia. Cvt provides mental health counseling for survivors of lord's resistance army atrocities in northern uganda. Cvt also provides both counseling and physiotherapy services to iraqi and syrian refugee torture and war trauma survivors and their families in two urban centers in jordan, as well as in nairobi, kenya. In addition, professional clinicians recruit, hire, train and supervise refugee and national staff to be psychosocial counselors, physiotherapists, and social and outreach workers who work under the direction of the professional staff. Cvt provides its mental and physical rehabilitation through small group and individual counseling and physiotherapy. Outreach and education is conducted through large group and community-wide sensitization events. Cvt began operations in a third location in kenya, refugee camps in kakuma, in september 2017. Cvt's primary donors for these activities are the us department of state, the international criminal court (icc), and the un voluntary fund for victims of torture. Through funding provided by the united states agency for international development (usaid), the icc, and us department of state, cvt assisted treatment centers and community based organizations in developing their mental health counseling skills in 9 countries in 2017. Usaid funding also supported capacity building initiatives in organizational development and program evaluation and monitoring practices in six of those treatment centers. This assistance is provided through online training, in-person conferences and skype consultation calls.

client servicescvt's client services program annually touches the lives of nearly 1,200 torture survivors and members of their families. The interdisciplinary care and treatment program involves the professions of medicine, psychiatry, psychology, social work, nursing, massage therapy and physical therapy in an integrated approach. Each year, 250-300 clients receive this intensive interdisciplinary care at the st. Paul clinic; others receive more limited services as family members or community members in need of specific information and referral elsewhere. Also, in 2017 cvt began offering a much smaller clinic in atlanta, georgia with psychotherapy and social services only, serving up to 75 clients per year. Volunteers help survivors who are ready to reconnect with the community by providing important services such as teaching survivors how to read a bus schedule and navigate public transportation, tutoring survivors in english, or accompanying survivors on visits to a museum, library, concert, coffee shop or grocery store. The st cloud project provides community-based training, education, and outreach to the somali refugee community on various behavioral health topics in the aftermath of war and torture trauma. The healing hearts program is a randomized control study exploring the efficacy of integrated cvt mental health services for traumatized karen refugees in a primary care setting (healtheast roselawn clinic and umn family physicians bethesda). Care is also provided for family members of clients and through community-based interventions. Information and referral services provide referrals for torture survivors and others who cannot travel to cvt for care. Staff clinicians provide training and consultation to organizations and agencies that are points-of-first-contact for torture survivors in the community.

capacity buildingthe national capacity building (ncb) project works to strengthen 111 torture rehabilitation centers, and other organizations serving survivors of torture, across the united states to enhance and expand treatment to torture survivors. The long-term goals for the ta project are to: 1. ) increase the service capacity of direct services sot grantees and other orr-funded organizations serving torture survivors to provide effective, holistic services that promote healing and wholeness; 2. ) promote integrated care for torture survivors by creating collaborative relationships among sot grantees, mainstream health and behavioral healthcare agencies, and refugee service organizations; and, 3. ) evaluate and strengthen the quality and sustainability of sot grantees' services to torture survivors and their families. Ncb's offerings include organizational needs assessments, remote and onsite consultations, webinars followed by topic-specific consultation groups, a monitoring and evaluation e-learning course, an e-learning course on the fundamentals of holistic care for torture survivors, logistical support for an annual research symposium in coordination with the national consortium of torture treatment programs, and the use of www. Healtorture. Org as a repository of the state-of-the-science research on torture rehabilitation, as well as tools and trainings on evidence-based and promising practices in torture treatment. New tactics operates globally, with a current particular focus in the middle east and north africa (mena) region. Since 1999 human rights activists in the mena region have participated cvt's new tactics program through regional workshops, an international symposium, publications, and web-based discussions. New tactics launched the mena initiative in 2009 to advance human rights efforts in the region. In 2017, new tactics conducted 29 training activities for 381 human rights activists from 125 organizations. The new tactics website was viewed a total of 302,147 times. New tactics narrowed its definition of what qualifies as a new tactics training and a new tactics training participant. This was done as part of a larger effort to more closely monitor and evaluate training outcomes using standardized tools and procedures.

public policy/educationcvt's public policy work seeks to prevent torture, ensure torturers are held accountable for their actions, and increase access to rehabilitation services and asylum protection for survivors of torture and war atrocities. Cvt's policy approach leverages the combination of five voices: survivors, clinicians, human rights lawyers, operational/humanitarian aid providers, and foreign policy experts. Cvt has established an effective presence with state, national and international policy makers. That presence gives voice to torture survivors and healing groups emerging in the united states and abroad, providing them access to tell their stories and find new allies and resources to support their work. In 2017, cvt advocated in support of federal financial resources to strengthen the capacity of torture survivor centers in the u. S. And around the world to extend care to survivors and to elevate the overall profile and prioritization of mental health services in humanitarian crises. Cvt also continued to work toward resolving continuing problems created by the united states' embrace of torture and cruelty in post-9/11 counterterrorism operations, including in support of just and humane detention and interrogation policies, as well as accountability for acts of torture and cruelty. Finally, cvt offered its perspective to the u. S. Immigration debate on particular issues in the u. S. Asylum and detention systems that have an adverse impact on survivors of torture. Researchcvt conducts ongoing program evaluation and research to describe its client population (demographic background, trauma and torture history, presenting diagnoses, symptoms, and complaints), patterns of service utilization, and responses to treatment. The research program focuses on developing a methodology that will allow cvt and other treatment centers serving torture survivors to document changes in physical, psychological and behavioral adaptation that are meaningful for a culturally diverse torture survivor population. Findings are disseminated through written and oral presentation in a variety of professional and media contacts. In 2017, research staff provided training and support for cvts domestic services in st paul and surrounding communities, minnesota and atlanta, georgia. The department also supported the organization's services in kenya, ethiopia, jordan, iraq and uganda. Research staff provided training and technical support relating to program evaluation to partner organizations in the us, as well as in cambodia, lebanon, liberia, philippines, south africa, and zimbabwe.

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