COVID-19 Response

The COVID-19 outbreak is one of those crises that leaves no one untouched, especially the more vulnerable in the community which includes those battling the psychic scars of torture. Fear and isolation are particularly debilitating for these survivors. Unfortunately, Center for Survivors of Torture is seeing an escalation of paralyzing anxiety, depression and insomnia among the adults and children served by the agency. Put simply, the pandemic is exacerbating the trauma these adults and children are already struggling to overcome. The impact of COVID-19 on CST and those it serves is why we adapted to the circumstances.

As an organization, CST’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic puts the safety and wellbeing of our clients and staff first. CST is closely adhering to guidance from respected resources and is doing all we can to take protective and constructive steps to mitigate the impact on survivors. To meet this goal CST very quickly implemented:

  • Intensive monitoring and distribution of client needs (i.e. food, clothing, diapers, shelter, utilities) to mitigate any gaps.
  • Telehealth services and technology for the adult and child clients to continue counseling treatment.
  • CST provides services to over 300 children who are now not in school, and rarely have access to technology.
  • Reaching out more frequently to the most at-risk adult and child clients.
  • Providing enhanced training to all clients with up-to-date, age appropriate information regarding COVID-19 in a multitude of languages.
  • Extending counseling hours, now available nights and half-day Saturdays

 Emergency Donations for Covid Relief will be used for the following:

  • Basic Household Kits: includes one-month supply of food, hygiene products or baby related diapers and wipes, and cleaning products. These cleaning products are needed to sanitize and clean to keep family members healthy and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Education Technology Kits: Many families do not have access to internet, computers, cell phones and/or tablets yet these are needed to continue the education of children, seek employment after job loss and for counseling and basic needs provision. Each kit includes a Chromebook and 6 months of internet service.
  • Adult Health Kits: These kits include over the counter medications, blood pressure monitors, thermometers, antibacterial sanitizer, gloves, wound care supplies, masks, and transportation passes needed for medical emergencies.

 

Survivors of torture were leaders in their home countries; they are educators, lawyers, journalists, doctors, nurses, scientists, engineers and others who worked for positive change. They are resilient and driven to succeed; they merely need help overcoming the after effects of torture. Those who come to the United States learn English, create businesses, and integrate into our communities.

The goal of Center for Survivors of Torture’s (CST) program is to assist survivors of torture and their families in the process of healing and recovery so they can attend to their health, begin the recovery process, discover and build new support networks, and lead productive, meaningful, and fulfilling lives. Since 1997, 8400 survivors and their families received integrated services to in Texas, including trauma-informed, client-centered psychological, legal, medical and social services as well as training, basic needs, referrals to services and resources. CST is the sole provider of strength-based free long-term torture treatment services throughout the 266,874 square miles of Texas, including Dallas, Austin, and satellite offices in Fort Worth, and San Antonio.

Survivors of torture were leaders in their home countries; they are educators, lawyers, journalists, doctors, nurses, scientists, engineers and others who worked for positive change. They are resilient and driven to succeed; they merely need help overcoming the after effects of torture. Those who come to the United States learn English, create businesses, and integrate into our communities.

The goal of Center for Survivors of Torture’s (CST) program is to assist survivors of torture and their families in the process of healing and recovery so they can attend to their health, begin the recovery process, discover and build new support networks, and lead productive, meaningful, and fulfilling lives. Since 1997, 8400 survivors and their families received integrated services to in Texas, including trauma-informed, client-centered psychological, legal, medical and social services as well as training, basic needs, referrals to services and resources. CST is the sole provider of strength-based free long-term torture treatment services throughout the 266,874 square miles of Texas, including Dallas, Austin, and satellite offices in Fort Worth, and San Antonio.

 

Our services

CST provides wraparound services, which have been a best practice for many decades, and treat the whole client in the context of being an individual, a member of a family, a part of a culture and a survivor of repeated trauma, in a culturally competent manner.

Counseling

Evaluation, diagnosis and treatment with individual, group and family therapy: Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Solution-Focused approaches

Forensic Reports

Clinical evidence

Medical care

Diagnosis, treatment, pain reduction, wound care, physiotherapy, prescriptions

Training

Training those who are interested in providing services to survivors

Social Services

Clients along with their case managers, set and achieve goals, obtain basic needs, ESL, and housing stability, leading to self sufficiency

APB Education Program

Employment skills inventory and community college easy-entry programs

In FY 2019, CST served 792 clients in Texas,
ages 3-78 from 49 countries and 57 ethnicities.

Outcomes

CST treatment is extremely effective. From impact assessment, 83% of clients meet their counseling goals within six months. They resolve grief and trauma and integrate their experiences into the larger context of their full potential.

In a one-year period, we expect to achieve:

%

of individuals will meet their counseling goals within six months—they will be able to eat, sleep without nightmares, concentrate and feel joy again

%

of children will demonstrate a reduction of symptoms as evidenced on the Children’s Depression Inventory 2 after 6 months or less of counseling

%

of clients who need medical care and medications will receive it from CST and/or referrals to other providers

%

of clients reported improved mental and physical health and quality of life through our goal-oriented services

How Many Survivors of Torture are there in the United States?

 

A meta-analysis of previous research studies on torture prevalence rates within refugee populations in the United States revealed that as many as 44% of refugees are either primary or secondary survivors of torture.¹ Applying the 44% torture prevalence rate to the overall number of refugees who have been resettled in the past 30 years, there could be as many as 1.3 million survivors of torture in the United States and 90,000 in Texas.

1 Center for Victims of Torture, “Updating the Estimate of Refugees Resettled in the United States who have Suffered Torture,” (Sept. 2015). http://www.cvt.org/sites/cvt.org/files/SurvivorNumberMetaAnalysis_Sept2015_0.pdf

How Many Survivors of Torture are there in the United States?

 

A meta-analysis of previous research studies on torture prevalence rates within refugee populations in the United States revealed that as many as 44% of refugees are either primary or secondary survivors of torture.¹ Applying the 44% torture prevalence rate to the overall number of refugees who have been resettled in the past 30 years, there could be as many as 1.3 million survivors of torture in the United States and 90,000 in Texas.

1 Center for Victims of Torture, “Updating the Estimate of Refugees Resettled in the United States who have Suffered Torture,” (Sept. 2015). http://www.cvt.org/sites/cvt.org/files/SurvivorNumberMetaAnalysis_Sept2015_0.pdf

Longer-term Program Impact

Nearly twenty-three years ago, Congress passed the first Torture Victims Relief Act (PL 105–320—OCT. 30, 1998) with strong bipartisan support, recognizing that the long term impacts of torture commonly lead survivors to demonstrate symptoms such as chronic pain, sleep disorders, severe depression and anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. Today, thousands of torture survivors around the world depend on this lifesaving assistance, even as needs continue to far exceed available resources.

Longer-term program impact includes improved mental health and quality of life for clients, wellness, self-sufficiency, English proficiency, occupational, employment, economic status, support systems, community involvement by clients, general health status, housing, relationships, and impact on future generations.

%

of clients became proficient in English

%

of clients reported having an established support network

%

of clients were able to implement skills learned at CST in other settings

%

of clients reported improved mental and physical health and quality of life through our goal-oriented services

Thirty-two Percent of CST’s Clients are Children

 

Their needs are immense and unique. The horrors endured by refugee children mandate that counseling begin as soon as possible.  CST program goals are to help children process the trauma, heal physically and emotionally, improve family relationships, acculturate and become ready for formal education in public schools.  CST achieves these goals through a well-designed program of counseling in schools, other agencies and in our office, medical care, education, and case management.

People at CST have been so caring. Before arriving at the Center, I was hopeless. I wouldn’t sleep or eat. Now, my life is better.

-Finny, Zimbabwe

GET INVOLVED

Locations

CST provides services in Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.
To make a referral for any location, please call (512) 358-4612

Dallas
4108 Swiss Avenue
Dallas, TX 75204
Phone: (214) 827-2314
Monday through Saturday,
9:00am – 5:00pm

Austin
9415 Burnet Road, Suite #201
Austin, TX 78758
Phone: (512) 358-4612
Monday through Friday,
9:00am – 6:00pm

San Antonio Satellite Office
590 N. General McMullen
Suite 3
San Antonio, Texas 78228
Phone: (210) 434-1054
Fridays, 1:00-7:00pm or by appointment

Fort Worth Office in Refugee Services of Texas
4200 South Freeway
Fort Worth, Texas 76115
Phone: (817) 413-3772
Thursdays, 9:00am – 5:00pm

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