Survivor engagement can be defined as the process by which survivors of traumatic experiences actively take part in activities related to the anti-torture movement that go beyond the receipt of individual treatment. It’s a process that empowers survivors to control, not merely be consulted on, their own rehabilitation, and can be considered as operating at three levels: Personal, Community, and National and in three key areas: Governance, Health, and Human Rights Advocacy.
Examples may include, but are not limited to: participation in peer support groups; becoming volunteers or paid staff members to provide services to other survivors; giving insights from lived experience and expertise to service providers or governments in order to shape service provision and improve access to justice; advocating with politicians and other key decision makers to eradicate torture.
The aim of survivor engagement initiatives is determined by survivors themselves. Some seek to engage with their wider networks as part of their healing processes; others want to share their experience to help others; some seek justice in a more direct manner.
Developed and implemented through a Steering Committee of five member centres with experience in integrating survivor engagement as a component of rehabilitation, the Special Project is one of the goals the IRCT has set itself under its Strategy 2022-2025.