The latest issue of Torture Journal examines challenges and solutions to rehabilitation of torture victims in the forced migration context.
It is crucial that frontline workers can identify survivors of torture amongst refugee populations and refer them for relevant assistance. This is the conclusion of “It never happened to me, so I don’t know if there are procedures”: identification and case management of torture survivors in the reception and public health system of Rome, Italy by contributors from Doctors without Borders - Italy. This is also reflected in Validation of the Protect Questionnaire: A tool to detect mental health problems in asylum seekers by non-health professionals by Ricarda Mewes, Boris Friele and Evert Bloemen, which is based on experiences in Germany.
Another group of contributors from Doctors without Borders, this time from Greece, illustrates the significance of daily stressors that influence and hinder the rehabilitation process in “My mind is not like before”: Psychosocial rehabilitation of victims of torture in Athens. Despite this, Mechthild Wenk-Ansohn, Carina Heeke, Maria Böttche, and Nadine Stammel show in Acute short-term multimodal treatment for newly arrived traumatized refugees: Reflections on the practical experience, that clinical progress can be made even in the turbulent first six months after arrival, when uncertainty regarding residence status and unstable living conditions is often at its most problematic.
Studies relating to torture survivors who have been in the host country for a longer period of rehabilitation include: Non-professional interpreters in counselling for asylum seeking and refugee women by Filiz Celik, Tom Cheesman; Satisfaction of trauma-affected refugees treated with antidepressants and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy by Cæcilie Buhmann, Jessica Carlsson, and Erik Lykke Mortensen; and clinical case studies where Narrative Exposure Therapy was used in the Netherlands in The impact of torture on mental health in the narratives of two torture survivors by Simone M. de la Rie, Jannetta Bos, Jeroen Knipscheer, and Paul A. Boelen.
Complementing this special section are two valuable papers, which reflect the breadth of the anti-torture movement. Ergun Cakal's interdisciplinary literature review on psychological torture Debility, dependency and dread: On the conceptual and evidentiary dimensions of psychological torture deals with the complex and varied reasons why psychological torture is often overlooked. Shameem Sadiq-Tang's Building Survivor Activism: An organisational view relates the experiences and lessons learnt by Freedom from Torture's varied and successful survivor-activism projects. Whilst one is more theoretical and the other is more practical, both provide powerful contributions for readers of the journal.
Other contributions include three relevant book reviews on forensic psychological assessments, post-deportation narratives, and a report by Fair Trials and REDRESS on the use of torture evidence, as well as a Letter to the Editor.
For more information
Launched in 1991, Torture Journal is an interdisciplinary scientific journal on rehabilitation of torture victims and prevention of torture. The full contents of the new issue are available free-of-charge here.