Who Is a Torture Survivor: Understanding the Legal Definitions of Torture

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This webinar, from March 16,2016 features Annie Sovcik and Marie Soueid from the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT), with Tim Kelly from the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and Faith Ray with the CVT National Capacity Building Program. This webinar covers the UN and US definitions of torture.

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Wednesday, 16 March 2016

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Description

This Measured Impact Webinar is part of a two-part training on the legal definitions of torture and how they apply to eligibility determinations for Survivors of Torture programs. This webinar concentrates on the legal frameworks of the U.S. and U.N. definitions of torture, as well as the refugee definition. It includes examples to illustrate cases that rise to the level of torture and cases that do not. The webinar was followed by an e-consultation with experts from the Center for Victims of Torture, the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture, and the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma (not included in this recording.) The online consultation featured a panel of clinical experts discussing complex case scenarios as they apply to eligibility under the U.S. definition of torture.

Objectives

  • Understand the basic elements, as well as differences, between the U.S. and UN definitions of torture and the refugee definition.
  • Increase analytical skills in applying the legal definitions of torture to factual case scenarios.
  • Conduct elemental analyses on the legal basis for determining eligibility under ORR and UN funding. 
  • Understand the following elements in the two definitions of torture: color of law, acquiescence, custody and control, and purposes for torture.

March 16 Webinar Presenters

Annie Sovcik, Director, Center for Victims of Torture Washington, DC Office

Marie Soueid, Policy Counsel, Center for Victims of Torture

Faith Ray, National Capacity Building Project Manager, The Center for Victims of Torture

Online Consultation Panel of Experts

Andrea Northwood, Director of Client Services, The Center for Victims of Torture

Melba Nicholson Sullivan, Clinical Assistant Professor, Director of Training, Staff Psychologist, NYU/Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture

James Lavelle, Director of International Programs and Community Organizing, Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma

Resources

  • The Office of Refugee Resettlement Torture Survivors Program Eligibility Determination Guidance, which was created to aid Survivors of Torture (SOT) programs in making eligibility decisions, based on the U.S. definition of torture.
  • The Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture Program's Torture Screening Checklist, Revised (TSCL-R).
  • The Center for Victims of Torture's I&R Team Checklist for Accepting a Client for Services at CVT.
  • The PowerPoint from the Torture Definitions webinar that explains the elements of the two legal definitions of torture and the refugee definition, as well as their differences, as they apply to eligibility at SOT programs.
  • Selections of the HURIDOCS codes used for categorizing and describing torture survivors' stories, symptoms, and experiences.

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