HealthRight Human Rights Clinic: our impact on survivors of torture in 2020

HealthRight Human Rights Clinic: our impact on survivors of torture in 2020

In 2020, the HealthRight Human Rights Clinic served 642 clients: military personnel, ATO/JFO combatants, internally displaced persons, political prisoners, 385 persons of them are survivors of torture accordingly to the United Nations Convention against Torture, which the project team refers to.

Our clinicians provided psychological, social and legal services as well as primary mental health care to them.

Clients received a comprehensive psychological, social and legal assistance as well as access to medical evaluations, treatment and rehabilitation care. Accordingly to observations of our clinicians, the best results in mental health care and social assistance can be achieved through addressing needs of not only clients with a traumatic experience but also their closest support network – family members.

In 2020, the Human Rights Clinic served 258 family members of survivors of torture. Our clinicians connected them to needed medical evaluations and treatment, legal advice and mental health care.

Specifically, we were successful in providing a comprehensive assistance to the following groups:

  • 241 survivors of torture, 98 of them are women;
  • 144 released military and civilian prisoners, 53 of them are women.

Our clients are often unable to return to their homes in the temporarily occupied territories due to risks of recapture and torture. Most of them do not have a residence registration in Kyiv, live with acquaintances, relatives, volunteers, rent rooms in shared households. Their situation is compounded by significant mental health disorders, disease exacerbation caused by physical injuries during torture, and lack of documents required for access to proper medical care.

In each case, our team professionally and absolutely free of charge provides a comprehensive support in three groups of services.

Mental health services:

  • individual: comprehensive mental health assessment, psycheducation (training, informing), crisis counseling, actualization of personal psychological resources, working through a traumatic experience, improvement of mental health and emotional state;
  • group: art therapy, biosuggestive therapy, guided imagery and katathym imaginative psychotherapy (symbol drama);
  • family: family relationship assessment, improvement of interpersonal relationships and communications, building a happy family.

Social assistance:

  • initial needs assessment and individual action plan;
  • access to medical and rehabilitation services, advice on social assistance benefits;
  • protection of rights, assistance in preparation of documents.

Legal advice:

  • preparation of requests to civil servants, government and law enforcement agencies and for court proceedings;
  • obtaining the legal status of a combatant;
  • documentation of facts of detention, torture;
  • protection of rights of prisoners and their family members;
  • assistance in making a settlement with banks regarding loan repayment;
  • assistance in resolving employment disputes.

Professionals of the Human Rights Clinic of the HealthRight International in Ukraine provide services in different modes in the Hospital for War Veterans “Lisova Poliana” of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine (Kyiv, Pushcha Vodytsia, 7th line) and Veteran Hub (Kyiv, Yuria Illienka Street, 42).

In 2021 we will continue our efforts to serve survivors of tortures in the armed conflict and places of detention and help them to rebuild their lives.

The Human Rights Clinic operates in the framework of the project “Support for Victims of Torture in Ukraine” funded by the UN VFVT.

If you would like to support clients of the Human Rights Clinic, please visit our website for further information