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TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2000202/616-3534

Justice Department Releases New Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Victim service providers can better assist survivors of politically motivated torture as the result of a report recently released by the Justice Department's Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). The report addresses the intent and extent of torture, the aftereffects of torture on survivors and their families and how torture survivor treatment centers intervene to help victims deal with the physical and psychological aftermath of victimization.

Survivors of Politically Motivated Torture: A Large, Growing, and Invisible Population of Crime Victims also looks at how treatment centers can collaborate with and provide training to victim assistance personnel and allied professionals to identify immigrants who have been tortured and help them heal.

"Adapting to a new environment is overwhelming for immigrants who have fled unsafe conditions in their native countries," said OVC Director Kathryn Turman. "For refugees who are also survivors of politically motivated torture, this transition is even more difficult because of the physical and psychological consequences of their torture."

Prepared by the Center for Victims of Torture in Minneapolis under a grant from OVC, the report summarizes issues raised at an OVC-sponsored October 1998 meeting of nearly 300 health care and human service professionals and presenters from torture survivor treatment centers from around the United States. Politically motivated torture is practiced or condoned in more than 100 nations, and it is estimated that 400,000 torture survivors live in the U.S. Since the Center for Victims of Torture was created in 1985, 13 other treatment centers have been formed in Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

"Our efforts have helped providers to identify the special needs of torture survivors and explore potential collaborations among treatment centers, OVC, other government agencies and nonprofit victim service organizations," said Turman. "We now need to know more about the victims themselves and what victim service providers can do to respond more effectively."

Survivors of Politically Motivated Torture: A Large, Growing, and Invisible Population of Crime Victims, as well as information about other OVC publications, programs and conferences is available through the OVC Website at and from OVC's Resource Center at 1-800/627-6872. Information about other Office of Justice Programs (OJP) bureaus and program offices is available at



After hours contact: Linda Mansour on 202/616-3534 or page on 202/516-6843