Advocacy for Survivors


Current estimates of torture survivors, individuals who have been subjected to politically-motivated torture, living in the United States are nearing 1.3 million. The number of torture survivors in California is estimated around 500,000. However, many Californians are unaware of their presence, and are even less aware of the challenges these individuals have to endure in suffering with consequences of torture and difficulties in resettlement.

CST advocates for the civic engagement, health care access and social justice for these survivors of torture. We aim to be the voice for these survivors by providing them with the insight into the effects of torture, and the consistent care to re-establish trust, bring damage under control, and help relieve exile by enabling some mastery of problems in a new country and culture.  We also participate in advocacy in the State Legislative level to bring awareness about the presence of torture survivors in our state and encourage support of California and national torture treatment centers.

CST collaborates with the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs (NCTTP), and the California Consortium of Torture Treatment Centers (CCTTC) in providing aid and advocating for services for these survivors.

As a result of our joint advocacy efforts, the Senate Joint Resolution 6 has passed the California State Legislature and will be making its way to the United States Congress!

SJR 6 raises awareness about the presence and needs of torture survivors in California. It also celebrates the existence of our state’s torture treatment centers. SJR 6 officially declares June 26th a Day in Support of Victims of Torture in California. Finally, SJR 6 calls on the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement to distribute Torture Victims Relief Act funds in a way that adequately accounts for California’s leading role as a resettlement destination for torture survivors.

Access the full text of SJR 6 here.

CST Services

CST provides culturally competent services to torture survivors using a client centered approach which is multidisciplinary, holistic, and strengths based. This service approach capitalizes on the clients’ resilience and internal resources as well as external support to identify the unique and comprehensive needs of the survivor.

The New Refugee Services program is designed for newly arrived refugees and their families resettling in the U.S. and Santa Clara County for less than five years to improve their abilities in dealing with stressors experienced in the new country such as adapting to the new culture and language, managing financial difficulties, and dealing with emotional challenges such as depression and anxiety.

In addition to direct client services, CST staff conducts trainings for legal, medical and social service providers and provide psycho-education and outreach to organizations and community members.