Freedom from Torture is a UK-based charity that focus on helping those who have been exposed to torture or have been tortured themselves. They have centres throughout the UK, including Glasgow, London, Birmingham, Newcastle and Manchester. They also operate a smaller presence in Humberside and Yorkshire.
They have expanded their presence throughout the UK after more than 30 years of dedicated work to helping torture sufferers. They began their work from a small area at Amnesty International and became their own independent charity at the end of 1985. In their first year, they helped 45 clients overcome the effects of torture. Nowadays, they help up to and over 2000 clients each year.
How Freedom From Torture Help
Freedom from Torture help those in need in many different ways. The effects of physical torture often leave mental scars. This is why Freedom from Torture offer psychological therapies to provide torture survivors with an outlet to voice their emotional welfare. This included one-to-one and group therapy. By talking to someone about how torture has affected their mental state, they have a better chance of improving their quality of life and preventing past torture from turning into long-term suffering.
Freedom from Torture also run social groups where fellow torture suffers can partake in therapeutic and fun activities. These group activities are a great way for torture survivors to make new friends, instil peace and start to rebuild their lives. Group activities may include playing sports and games, gardening, breadmaking and other skill-enhancing activities.
Many of the clients who come to Freedom for Torture for help are asylum seekers. To help these people, Freedom from Torture offer a number of services which make the transition easier, including help with complicated bureaucracy. One of these services is legal advice to help those seeking asylum navigate procedures without stress and confusion.
One of the most influential ways that Freedom from Torture help with legal bureaucracy facing asylum seekers is by providing Medico-Legal Reports (MLR). These reports are used to examine the effects of torture and assessing its impact on a person’s life. The report will analyse both physical and psychological damage caused by the torture. This is important because these legal forms play a big part in claims for asylum in the UK. Freedom from Torture also help in these instances by providing an interpretation service for people who face communicative barriers.
Giving Torture Survivors A Voice
Survivor activism is crucial in making people aware of torture and its effects on survivors’ lives. This is why Freedom from Torture run different initiatives to give torture survivors a public platform to educate influential people on how torture has lasting physical and mental damage. The charity plans on launching a youth project in the near future, but two of their most celebrated initiatives are Write to Life and Survivors Speak OUT.
Write To Life
Write to Life is an initiative that gets torture survivors to document their experiences with a love of creative writing. Some of the writing group’s members even had their stories and writings read by distinguished authors at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Others have read their work to thousands of people in live audiences and enjoy continued success. You can find their writings in many online and print publications across the UK. Recently, Write to life has expanded into drama and members of the group now enjoy performing as well. Some torture survivors have discovered a new passion and moved into live theatre and film.
Survivors Speak OUT
Survivors Speak OUT was formed by Freedom from Torture clients as a way to get their voices heard and educate others. They speak directly to the UK’s youth, government officials and parliamentary inquiry panels to educate listeners on how they can engage with torture victims. This group is not a series of testimonies but used as a way to make an active difference and influence others where possible.
They discuss the effects of torture in the UK and attempt to work with those in power to make effective changes and implement strategies that will make a real difference. There are no bigger experts on torture than those that have gone through it. This makes the Survivors Speak OUT group a unique resource to influential people who can make a positive change.
Visit their website to understand more of the work and aims of Freedom from Torture. Read more on the ways that Freedom from Torture help victims and survivors and also find more details regarding their make-a-difference initiatives. You can also donate to their cause directly on their website.