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Human Rights Day 2014: Psychosocial Support in focus with launch of Report

To mark this year’s Human Rights Day, the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) together with the Medical Action Group (MAG) has launched the report ‘In Pursuit of Justice’, casting a light on psychosocial support for victims of torture in legal proceedings.

Psychosocial Support for victims of torture in the pursuit of justice is a key area within rehabilitation.

Fear of reprisals and re-traumatisation, no belief in the justice system and fear of stigmatisation from community or family members are some of the factors dissuading victims of torture from participating in legal proceedings against their perpetrators.

In addition, a trial is often an emotionally painful process during which the torture victim will require constant support from health and legal professionals to prevent re-traumatisation.

However, despite the potentially positive impact, the issue currently receives little attention. In general there is a lack of awareness of the degree to which torture can affect a victim’s testimony and therefore the impact that participation in legal proceedings can have on the victim’s psychological well-being.

By offering victims of torture specialised psychosocial support and access to justice programmes, centres can help them overcome the psychological burden of a trial, and also enhance the therapeutic impact of justice on the individual’s rehabilitation.

“On this Human Rights Day, the IRCT puts the spotlight on a critical yet neglected area within the fight against impunity and rehabilitation itself. The positive effects of psychosocial support to victims of torture in legal proceedings and to the fight against impunity cannot be ignored,” said Victor Madrigal-Borloz, IRCT Secretary-General.

The report is the result of a fruitful collaboration between our organisation and the IRCT, with the valuable contribution of torture victims and the professionals working to support them.

The report is now available for download at www.irct.org