From 28 May to 1 June 2018, the IRCT together with experts from the Independent Forensic Expert Group (IFEG) conducted a 5-day training on how to work with torture victims and document evidence of their injuries for medical and mental health staff at the Flyktingmedicinskt centrum (FMC) in Norrköping, Sweden.
The FMC provides medical and mental health support to refugees and asylum seekers as part of the Swedish public health system. Many of their clients are torture survivors. Yet, in the Östergötland region, there are currently no specialised services for these individuals, including the provision of medico-legal documentation for their asylum and legal cases.
To help address this gap in services, the FMC sought the IRCT’s help. The IRCT’s Istanbul Protocol expert and lawyer, James Lin, together with Dr Lilla Hardi, psychiatrist, IFEG member, and Director of the Cordelia Foundation – IRCT’s member in Hungary – and Dr Onder Ozkalipci, independent forensic physician and IFEG member, led the weeklong multidisciplinary training in collaboration with colleagues from the Swedish Red Cross.
Topics covered included: torture definition and methods; the Istanbul Protocol methodology; physical and psychological evidence of torture; interpreting evidence; medico-legal reporting; photo documentation; mechanisms of memory; effects of trauma on credibility; malingering; working with interpreters; vicarious trauma and burnout; the Swedish Red Cross experience; and how to build a specialised unit.
The IRCT congratulates the FMC on working towards the creation of essential services for torture victims. And we stand committed to supporting the FMC and other institutions in this task.