DOCUMENTATION AND REHABILITATION DEPARTMENT
This programme involves provision of medical and psychological care to survivors and victims of torture through a network of medical practitioners and counselors, conducting of postmortems for deaths in places of detention or through action of state actors, counseling and medical care to victims of torture and forensic documentation for purposes of effective prosecution of state perpetrated torture.
The activities at IMLU focus on documenting the effects of torture, rehabilitation of survivors of torture and/or their families by affording them physical and psychological medical care and provision of post-mortem services cases suspected of death due to torture and legal redress. These services are provided through a nationwide network of healthcare professionals including doctors, pathologists and counseling psychologists. In documenting physical and psychological torture, IMLU is sensitive to global standards as defined in the Istanbul Protocol.
Torture survivors undergo the intake procedures as per our case management protocol. We follow this up with an assessment of the trauma through a physical and psychological examination of the victim by the Doctor and the Psychiatrist/counseling psychologist. Subsequent to the documentation is the provision of comprehensive medical treatment. The client is referred for specialized in or out patient care if need be. Further appointments are scheduled to evaluate progress and for psychological therapy period of which is a minimum of 6 sessions. A medical report, inclusive of the medical and psychological findings is compiled at the end of the rehabilitation of each client.
For deceased victims of torture, post-mortems are conducted through the IMLU network of pathologists. This provides forensic evidence to support various legal redress initiatives.
The main aim
The aim of rehabilitation and documentation is to empower the torture victim to resume as full a life as possible.Mostly rebuilding the life of someone whose dignity has been destroyed takes time and as a result long-term material, medical, psychological and social support is needed. Treatment offered to the victims must be a coordinated effort that covers both physical and psychological aspects. It is important to take into consideration the patients' needs, problems, expectations, views and cultural references Therefore IMLU advocates that rehabilitation should be holistic meaning available, appropriate, accessible and provided in a way that guarantees the safety and personal integrity of the victims, their family and their caretakers;provided at the earliest possible point in time after the torture event, without a requirement for the victim to pursue judicial remedies, but solely based on recommendations by a qualified health professional;provided in close consultation with the victim and tailored to meet the specific needs of each individual victim.
Through the set pillars of ensuring a society free from torture and redress, IMLU’s long term documentation and research process has proved that the consequences of torture are influenced by either internal and external factors. Therefore, IMLU aims at applying the best and different treatment approaches to the affected victims, taking into account the victims' individual needs, as well as the cultural, social and political environment. In order to achieve this, IMLU’S rehabilitation centre offers multi-disciplinary support and counseling, including:
- Medical attention / psychotherapeutic
- treatment Psychosocial support / trauma treatment
- Legal services and redress
- Social reintegration.
IMLU considers secondary treatment and rebuilding. It is evident that in worst case scenarios torture can affect several generations. The physical and mental after-effects of torture often place great strain on the entire family and society. Children are particularly vulnerable. They often suffer from feelings of guilt or personal responsibility for what has happened. IMLU therefore aims at providing the necessary care to other members of the survivor’s family – in particular the spouse and children – who are offered treatment and counseling.
In some instances, whole societies can be more or less traumatized where torture has been used in a systematic and widespread manner. Providing psychosocial support and redress to these survivors of torture and trauma can help reconstruct broken societies.
Medical Evaluation of Torture Victims
IMLU Health professionals provide critical documentation of torture and ill treatment in legal proceedings. Such evaluations are often conducted by IMLU network of health practitioners’ located in different part of the country. The purpose of the medical evaluation is to provide expert opinion on the degree to which medical findings correlate with the alleged victim’s allegation of abuse and to effectively communicate the clinician’s medical findings and interpretations to the judiciary or other appropriate authorities. In addition, medical testimony often serves to educate the judiciary, other government officials, and the local and international community on the physical and psychological sequel of torture.
These medical evaluations require a careful and thorough clinical history and examination of physical and psychological evidence by doctors who are sensitive to cross-cultural issues and interpersonal dynamics between traumatized individuals and persons in positions of authority. Normally the doctors must be knowledgeable about the medical and psychosocial consequences of torture and the established guidelines for effective documentation. Rehabilitation and documentation programme, generally aim at promoting democracy, co-existence and respect for human rights. The program provides support and hope, and act as a symbol of triumph over the manmade terror of torture which can hold back the development of democracy of entire societies.