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The National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs (NCTTP) is a U.S. based network of programs which exists to advance the knowledge, technical capacities and resources devoted to the care of torture survivors living in the United States and acts collectively to prevent torture worldwide.
As violent political upheavals have increased in countries across the world, individuals, many of them civilians, in these countries have been intimidated, threatened, and tortured to further the goals of a government or in the wake of a lack of government’s intervention to prevent torture. Survivors of Torture, in many cases, have lost family, home, country, livelihoods, and they frequently have been brutally damaged emotionally and physically, leaving them with little hope and lessened capacity to carry on a productive, meaningful life in the United States.
The United States has resettled over three million refugees and likely as many asylum seekers in the last 40 years.1,2 Because estimates of the percentage of refugees who have been tortured range from 10 to 30%, with some higher estimates for asylum seekers, it is likely that between 600,000 to 1,200,000 torture survivors have come to the U.S. since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.3,4 NCTTP centers currently have the capacity to provide specialized assistance approximately 6,000 survivors – a very small fraction of those who need help.
NCTTP’s primary purpose is to foster the development, in quality as well as quantity, of specialized programs devoted to caring for survivors of torture. Member organizations share knowledge and expertise through regular communication and cooperation, building stronger individual organizations as well as a stronger network of care. Providing health, mental health, legal assistance, and / or other support services to victims of torture, NCTTP member centers conduct their programs with the highest professional standards. Research into treatment outcomes and evidence based practices is a strong value.
Founded in 1998, the NCTTP currently has 35 member organizations in 18 states and the District of Columbia. Lin Piwowarczyk, M.D., M.P.H., of the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights in Boston, Massachusettes, currently serves as NCTTP President.
Funding for the NCTTP comes from membership dues, donations, and grants. Significant funding for individual programs comes from grants from the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement and the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture through the U.S. Torture Victims Relief Act of 1998. The United Nations Voluntary Fund is also an important funder. Donations from individuals and agencies, grants from private foundations and intrastate governments, fund raising events, and some billing for insurance covered services provide additional financial support.
1. rcusa.org / history, U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program, accessed 7/10/2014
2. Asylum in the United States, Wikipedia, accessed 7/10/2014 – citing OECD International Migration Outlook 2009. (http://www.oecd.org/migration/mig/internationalmigrationoutlook2009.htm)
3. Modvig J, Jaranson J. A global perspective of torture, political violence, and health. In: Wilson JP, Drozdek B, eds. Broken Spirits: The Treatment of Traumatized Asylum Seekers, Refugees, War and Torture Victims. New York, NY: Brunner-Routledge Press; 33-52, 2004.
4. Burnett, A., & Peel, M. (2001). Asylum seekers and refugees in Britain: The health of survivors of torture and organized violence. BMJ, 322(7286), 606-609.
The history of the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs (NCTTP) and the evolution of the Torture Victims Relief Act (TVRA) are interwoven as each supported and helped to make possible the development of the other.
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